[-Writing-] Side-Quest Tutorial

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[-Writing-] Side-Quest Tutorial

Post  robbieagray on Sat Sep 21, 2013 3:41 pm

Robbieagray's Side-Quest Tutorial

So after I posted my Dark Forest Contest/Challenge (Which I hope to revive one final time after the release of the demo) I recieved word that there are a few people who have a difficulty making side-quest. Well, don't be saddened because I am now making a tutorial to help you all with this topic.

This will hopefully make the process of making a side-quest a whole lot simpler for you all.

What is the Purpose of a side-quest?

A side-quest should function almost like it's own little story. While it may have some minor connections to the game's main quest it should be distinctly its own thing. It is there to offer more background on the story/world of the game, offer re-playability for those who have already played the game and are replaying it for fun, and to offer some rewards for the player going along on the journey.

A side-quest should also be enjoyable otherwise there is no reason to start the side-quest at all (except for gaining experience if that is available).

Also make sure that your side-quest doesn't overwhelm your main plot. If a side-quest is more interesting then the main quest then something is really wrong.

What types of side-quests are there?

There are as follows:


  • Search and Retrieve- Search and find an item(s) or character(s) and return them to a curtain location.
  • Search and Destroy- Search for a curtain item(s) or creature(s) and KILL THEM!!!!!!
  • Escort- transport one character/creature from one location to a totally different location.
  • Obstacle Course- Go through curtain areas (generally with puzzles) and activate switches.


Choices!

One thing that can make some side-quest interesting are choices that can be made in a side-quest. For example:

Little Girl loses pet chicken. You go to search for the chicken. You find chicken. Big fat guy also wants the chicken. Who do you give the chicken?  :?

See here you have a choice between giving the pet-chicken to the little girl or to the fat guy. This makes the player think and offers a re-playability for the quest if the player chooses to replay the game.

The choices also have to be distinctly different. One choice should be good and the other choice should be evil. now you can always disguise the choices so that the bad choice doesn't appear bad but having 2 good choices or 2 evil choices just doesn't work (at least most of the time it doesn't). It is like the choice of electing a republican liberal vs. a democrat liberal (hopefully you recognize what I am talking about and understand what I mean) or the choice of buying a cheesy cheddar dog vs. another cheesy cheddar dog.

However don't drown the player with choices. Below we discuss how the number of choices affect the quest as a whole.


  • 1 choice - No options.
  • 2-3 choices - a good number of choices.
  • 4 choices - can be a little bit overwhelming.
  • 5-10 choices - annoying...
  • 11-100 choices - I AM GOING TO KILL YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • 100 < choices - you have no life and have lost all your friends. You are forever.... alone! Also your girlfriend just went out with RPG_lover just now.


How should I reward the player?

Always have your reward balanced with you objectives. For instance you don't give the player the Supreme Blade of Bezuibulb just for opening a cookie jar. That is just too easy.

However don't rip you player off either. For example you player goes through 12 locations killing a curtain type of mini-boss so give him something good. Not the stupid cheese-grater that does only 1 damage more then the starting weapon, because this will inferate the player into using said cheese-grater on his own a**.

Remember to balance the reward. ALWAYS!!!! (my a** hurts)!

Is it canon to the setting?

A side-quest should feel like it is connected the world it is within otherwise it is alien and makes no sense. For example: In a fantasy style game you don't throw in a scifi side-quest unless it fits with the game.

A story about vampires shouldn't have a side-quest on how lollipops are made. A future scifi shouldn't have a bunch of elves with arrows popping out of no where owning all the aliens in their path. A Victorian era mystery game shouldn't have a serial killer with a laser rifle for no good reason! That is just stupid.

If it doesn't build upon the setting already present in the game then it doesn't belong in the game at all.

I Can't think of anything?

That is okay sometimes it can be very difficult to come up with an idea for a side-quest. So here is one thing you can do.

Look at a side-quest you enjoyed from a different game (don't copy it! That is piracy! That is REALLY BAD!!!). Note the pros of the quest (what you enjoyed). Note the cons of the quest (what either you didn't like or annoyed you). Note ideas of what you think could have made it more interesting.

Now Look at the pros, remove the cons, add what you think would make it awesome. Now GO AWAY for a little while and think about other stuff (like college work) and come back. Now that your brain (or what is left of it) has been cleared look over what you have. Add a few twist and remove anything else that you think could be annoying.

You could also look to either your favorite music or art-work for inspiration. Even past experiences and events can be inspirational.

I hope you all learned something from this tutorial. Thank you for reading.  Very Happy
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Re: [-Writing-] Side-Quest Tutorial

Post  XIX on Sun Sep 22, 2013 10:56 am

Great tutorial, I'll look at it again later for some ideas i may use. Thanks for your contribution.

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Re: [-Writing-] Side-Quest Tutorial

Post  robbieagray on Wed Sep 25, 2013 9:14 pm

No problem I hope it helps. Smile 

Also I hope to try one more attempt at the Dark Forest side-quest contest/challenge in the future after the release of the demo. However it will be my last attempt to do so and as a result I will award any of those who presented their side-quest with the prizes I promised and their quest will immediately make it into the game. But it still won't be much of a contest if that happens. Crying or Very sad 
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