Panzer Dragoon WEST

We all know it’s been quite some time since Orta graced the X-Box with a worthy continuation to the Panzer Dragoon series, and Sega continues to prevaricate and procrastinate over when the next instalment is going to appear. Of course, if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well - and if something has to be done well, you have to do it yourself.

As any Panzer Dragoon game deserves excellence, then, it was only expected I’d take on the mantle of composing a sequel personally, then. [/egotism] :anjou_happy:

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been composing a script for how I’d prefer a future Panzer game to evolve, and here I can present the fruits of my labours with PANZER DRAGOON WEST, which takes the form of an RPG and a direct sequel to Saga, transpiring just three months after the events in Uru in a world which is just starting to suffer from the afflictions of the Great Fall.

The script is far from complete - I think I’ve only been able to document a little under an hour of game - but currently the script weighs in at over ten thousand words so I thought that it was time to show it to my fellow Panzer enthusiasts so that I can benefit from some Comments & Criticism about my progress.

You need the Hoffman font to read this .RTF file in ideal conditions - you can download it from the multimedia section in the main TWotA site if you don’t have it already. … r/PDW1.rtf

At the moment, I acknowledge that the beginning is very slow as far as Panzer games are usually concerned, and that the statements of the characters may be a little too prolix (my method of editing is to state what they’d ideally say, and then prune it down as required - it makes it easier to preserve the original sense). However, all of your comments are appreciated.


Apologies if this sounds a little whiny, but… come on, everyone, all I want is a little bit of feedback! :anjou_disappointment:

I’ve been having some problems viewing the document (again). Is anyone else getting a mixture of code and plain text, or is it just me?

It appears just fine for me, Solo. What program are you trying to open it in?

It seems to be fine for me too, Solo; you weren’t accidentally opening it in a notepad-like app, were you? That’d explain the mixture of code and text…

Anyhow, I’ve finally got around to reading through it all myself, and I thoroughly enjoyed it; it’s obviously had an awful lot of work put into it and it seemed consistently well-thought out and well-written, especially the stage direction notes (with all the camera angles and other details). I thought the whole thing had a pretty authentic cinematic feel, and although the story hasn’t gone all that far yet, there were already some nice character interactions going on.

As you’re after feedback though, I’ll try and think of things that stuck me as improvable, too… hmm. I think I noticed a couple of minor continuity issues between this and the existing PD storyline, though they were in the introduction rather than the script itself; I’ll recheck at some point and let you know about them later if I’m not wrong. Towards the end of the document, a potential logic-issue struck me, too: what was the reason for the Imperial soldiers not using the Stingers to defend the settlement when the monsters attacked? There was the heavy downpour going on, but Yumen seemed to be piloting the Stinger relatively OK at the end as he escaped, and I wouldn’t have thought that a downpour would be able to affect the anti-gravity propulsion of those things, though I guess that’s just personal opinion. The other thing I thought slightly strange was Ombar’s decision to turn against the first Imperial soldier, the one who was being dragged off by the monster (who it looked to be implied Ombar stabbed with his bayonet). Although it was a good dramatic turning point, I couldn’t quite see where the motivation was coming from there; at least vs. the fear Ombar must have felt for the monster, which I thought he would have been scrambling to get away from, given his terrified reaction when faced with one of them earlier. Of course those aren’t really major gripes, though…

Anyhow, if you’re going to go ahead and carry this script on further, keep up the good work Robert.

I’ve tried Wordpad, 1.1.4, and Word 2003 running on XP …same results in all three.

Word 2000 has the same problem as well. Would it too much bother if I got you to paste it over several forum posts, Robert?

I honestly don’t know what problems you’re computer’s having, Solo… the script is extremely formatting-heavy so instead of reconstructing it all in a forum thread - which would probably take just as long as it did to write it out originally :anjou_wow: - would you mind if I made Print-Screen impressions of each of the pages and put them all into a .zip file for you? I know it’ll be a little fiddly, but it seems the most practicable method and you can always click through them quickly on a folder-slideshow.

Thanks for the detailed input, Lance, it’s an immense help. To address some of your specific concerns:

…that’s a good question, and one that I admit that I neglected to explain. The Imperial unit deposited in Curteg was composed of soldiers rather than sailors, and being a basic infantry company it’s primarily composed of the rank-and-file. Only Yumen and a couple of his command staff would actually know how to pilot the Stingers - and they’re needed to supervise the rest of their company and so don’t have the liberty to zip around in fighters. Another point is that Yumen launching the Stinger was an act of desperation - Float Engines may be able to fly in bad weather, but for the pilot it’s nothing less than hell to fight in - in such atrocious visibility it’d be all too easy to lose your horizons and go dive-bombing into the ground. Yumen took the Stinger as there were no other options left to him, and it was a combination of luck, skill, being able to use the flying mutants to orientate himself, and The Plot Needs Him Alive ( :anjou_embarassed: ) that prevented him from crashing.

Another fair point - I confess here I was aiming for drama more than logical consistency. If I had to wriggle out of it, I would say that Ombar’s horrified reaction to the first Gorulor was one primarily of shock and surprise, with its effects amplified by the sickening sight of the first dead Imperial soldier, rather than petrifying terror - mutants are well-known to the inhabitants of the Panzer world, and they’re far from uncommon.

Thanks, I fully intend to. :anjou_happy:

If anyone else has anything else to contribute, even if it’s just a simple “I loved/loathed it”, please feel free!

Hmm, that’s fairly strange. When Robert first put the document up last Wednesday it was a Word .doc version, so in case it might help, I’ve mirrored that original file here; you could see if that one opens OK, Solo. (I hope that’s OK with you, Robert; I figured it’ll save you some trouble if it works. :anjou_happy: )

Thanks Lance; the .doc file worked fine. I’ve read about half of it, so I’ll write up some feedback once I’ve read through the whole thing, Robert.

Heh, it’s a relief that the original file functioned - the amount of clicking required to transfer over just ten of those pages into individual .JPGs felt as if it would induce carpal tunnel syndrome… :anjou_embarassed:

i downloaded the file a while back but not had time to read it yet =(
i didn’t read any of Lance’s comments as not to spoil it for me

i’ll get round to reading it soon, just thought id let you know so you can expect my comments >=)

I have read through the first scene in detail, and speed-read through the rest… and you are a good writer :slight_smile: So, don’t take the following as a criticism in the negative sense of the word. Just observations of the approach you are taking.

While you acknowledge it in one of your comments, there is an inordinate amount of dialog/cutscenes, and very little actual gameplay. I understand there are scenes where the player is to wander the towns, etc, but the player is given very little motivation to actually do so. The gameplay seems thrown in under the assumption that the player will automatically be interested in exploring the world simply for the sake of exploration.

Granted, this is simply a personal theory of game design, I am of the school of thought that the story for a game should evolve from the experience. The story should be intertwined with the gameplay. If you simply wish to tell a story and let the player handle the simple logistical work of running from area to area or buy supplies, why make it a game at all? Your story is turning into an excellent movie/anime/book/etc, but not necessarily a game.

If you were to take out the interactive sequences from the game, would it actually affect anything? If the answer is “no,” then I think it would be a good idea to revisit how you integrate the exposition with the interactive.

I’d be the first to agree with you, Abadd. This introduction is flawed, because, just as you say, there’s little gameplay in what’s supposed to be a game. However, I’ll ask that you persevere with it - Act One and the first third or so of Act Two consists very much of ‘scene-setting’, and more consistent and prolonged gameplay will start to become more apparent from thereonin.

Regarding the “theory of gaming narrative” that you broached upon in your post, I’m also inclined to concur with you there, as well. Whilst I would laud cutscenes and cinematics as indicative of the industry’s maturity - both in technical accomplishment and the germination of ‘interactive literature’ - there is a small nub within me that feels uncomfortable that I’m just watching films on a monitor and not a game. But then, you have to pause to listen to other characters speak even in games like Half-Life with their integrated dialogues, so is there really any way of escaping that?

Seeing as Abadd’s raised the issue of gameplay, here is a brief and rough draft-sketch of a Field occuring much further on in the game. How would you react to it?

FXX: Heaven’s Thunder

The Southern Migration consists of four great settler-armies, under the auspices of the “Four Pretenders” - the princes who failed in the war of succession that occured in the southlands and were expelled from that domain. One prince has chanced across an Imperial installation which has been abandoned by its staff - and within it, are found no less than three Deathmakers, sister-missiles to that fired on Zoah in Saga. The prince wants to use these missiles as they are an asset to dominion, the right of the strong, but one of his nobles protests that such devices are dishonourable, because they strike hidden and from afar instead of the ideal battlefield which is a clash of souls and steel and where the strong truly prove themselves. Asserting that the gods will decide which course to take, the prince demands that the intractible issue be settled through a duel (not spectacular, as it is Southern custom). It’s hard-fought but eventually the prince fails when a swordblade cuts through his ankle. As the noble apologies for injuring his lord, the prince growls something along the lines of “You forget, it’s first blood from the torso!”, but instead of contecting himself with a slash or a nick, he buries the blade up to the hilt in his opponent in a fit of pique.

The gameplay opens up as Lagi, Ombar and Yumen swoop down on this base to disable the Daethmakers. There’s a time-limit as the missiles are currently being armed. They can either forge directly through the forest of formidable ground defences, inviting on themselves a lot of costly battles but saving time, or with a discerning eye, thread a maze-like path through them which avoids each defence emplacement’s alert-zone, which avoids too many confrontations but sacrifices time and the potential for more experience points. On reaching the launch rails and defeating the “Corona Ring” defences surrounding it, though, it is discovered that they are protected by a shield which Lagi can’t penetrate. The next stage involves the trio trying to find enter via an escape route (:p) to bypass this sheild and enter the subterranean parts of the base - there are a few red herrings which cause you to be attacked by air units if you mistakenly access them.

All the while this is happening, Ombar and Yumen are arguing heatedly between each other over whether the Deathmakers should be completely destroyed (Ombar) or merely deactivated and preserved for possible future need (Yumen).

On successfully finding the correct path, an Event occurs requiring you to dodge and weave through the congested and perilously tight architecture of the base in real-time, before emerging into the cavernous preparation chamber for the Deathmakers - you can destroy them now, but the only problem is that they’d probably take you with them, and also there’s an awful lot of rifles being aimed up towards the ceiling…

Any thoughts?

Are you doing this as a writing exersize for yourself or as the beginnings of a fan project? Your script is very well written, interesting to read and full of detail. However, you state at the beginning that this is meant to be taken as the script for an RPG - in which case I feel you’ve got things the wrong way round. You need to have a rough outline script which could be nothing more than “Lagi is reborn, comes up against rival Dragon X and then goes on to destroy Tower B” then do a LOT of sketching, gameplay mechanic writing, and area mapping. Some of the best ideas come out of random doodles! The script should come out of the gameplay and the world you have created, otherwise it will feel as though you’ve forced an event on Generic Town that may not have occured there anyway.

This is intended as constructive critiscm, please don’t feel bad!

Not to worry, Kimini - this is very much a “fan” affair, giving my own purely subjective perception of how I’d envisage and imagine a future Panzer game to be composed, not a formal design document to be formally scrutinised at Sega’s board by any stretch of the imagination.

That said, if any Sega employee or executive is surveying this forum and wants to suggest that I begin inquiries with the Human Resources department, I’m always open to offers… :anjou_happy: