Story Writing 101: Creating Conflict

Most games have a story or theme that provides the player motivation. Because of this, I suggest game designers take time to learn the principles of telling a good story. This is especially true in RPGs. If the story can keep the players engaged, the game play is just icing on the cake. Welcome to Story Writing 101.

Today's topic: Coming up with Conflict

There's three main schools of thought on writing conflict. If you try to picture each of these themes in your head, you'll have an easier time determining the story you want to write.

Theme #1 - Heroes vs Villains
These stories have a good guy that the audience cheers for and a villain that needs to be stopped. This is classic Luke Vs Darth Vader. The conflict of this story is based on these two clashing. Bonus points if the good guy and bad guy aren't completely black and white. Give the good guy some dark tendencies and find a way to make the villain likable.

Theme #2 - Who Did It?
Something happens off screen. Suddenly, the story turns into a game of Clue as everyone tries to figure out what exactly happened. Think of the CSI shows for examples here. Conflict is born out of suspicion and a desire to figure out what transpired. Bonus points for false leads and red herrings.

Theme #3 - The Next Day
Something happens off screen. But the focus isn't on figuring out what. It's on surviving the consequences. Think of any apocalyptic movie. Gamers, think of the Fallout series. Conflict is born out of the desire to survive. Bonus points if the other two themes are used to assist.

That should be enough to get you started. Tune in again for more tips on keeping your stories strong. Make sure you follow us for more game design tips!