This video showcases the narrative design possibilities in Viola. By combining gameplay and linear storytelling, the player can feel directly involved with Viola's story.
Click 'Read more' to read a little more about this story!
Actual Narrative Design!
In most games, cutscenes are used to tell the game's story, often bringing the gameplay to a complete halt. But a serious narrative designer should be able to use gameplay elements to bring the story to life. However, using only gameplay to tell a story can often be too abstract.
By combining linear storytelling with interaction, you can get the best of both worlds: clear storytelling while still involving the player. A lot of the game is about Viola's personal growth, which is reflected in her ability to play the violin.
She will try to copy something someone else plays. Since the player controls Viola, the player has to do it. Her skill at this point in the game is pretty low: so the memory of how the song should be played wanes quickly. Each time you fail, however, the song will be displayed for longer. Again, reflecting Viola's ability to play: by trying again, it becomes easier to do!
Code-wise, everything is pretty much hard-coded. Reach a certain point, and your movement gets disabled so RPGTalk can do its thing. Once it's done, a boolean in Viola's instrument code gets turned to true, which disables the player to play the violin, but not stop. The hard-coding also helps with setting certain cameras, changing volumes, creating the transparent buttons, and so on. It means that this piece of story is not modular at all, but story is usually so incredibly specific that there's not much point to making it modular.
As for the backgrounds and animations... Please use your imagination for now.