Sorry, our video is terrible. We're gamers, not voice actors. We have tried to do a better job explaining Storybricks below. Storybricks isn't really like anything you've probably seen before. Hopefully you'll agree this is the future of how we will play games.
What is Storybricks?
Storybricks itself is a system, a visual editing tool that allows players to tell stories that uses a sophisticated simulation that defines character emotions and behaviors. It is focused on providing a new way for players to experience and contribute to MMOs. Our plan is to use Storybricks in a game we develop that supports this vision of storytelling in games.
We created Storybricks because we saw a major flaw in current MMOs: games that repeatedly tell you that you are the hero with worlds that did not change based on your supposedly heroic actions. Instead of deep worlds where you have adventures with interesting characters, we saw worlds with static stories intended to distract you from the fact that you are grinding the same combat encounters in order to gain enough resources or faction to make it easier to grind more combat encounters. MMOs should be more than that.
We created Storybricks to take MMOs and make them new again. We're starting from the very foundation.
If you take a close look at the history of MMOs, you will see how important story is. Not the cliché fantasy stories of "a land torn apart by war!" but the interesting stories the players have experienced. Maybe you remember a quest where you really grew to appreciate an character who was particularly well-written. Or you remember how silly it was for some character to keep looking for his lost, dead wife. Maybe you chatted with your friends about how it would be cool to change some element or another.
We created Storybricks as a tool to let you tell your stories within a game that we create. This tool is easy to use and not require any programming ability.
As shown in this picture, Storybricks itself is a visual editing system that allows you to edit parts of our game to suit your story. Maybe you want to set up a corrupt kingdom so you can lead a rebellion against a wicked noble. Or, perhaps you prefer to have that beautiful prince waiting for a wily amazon to steal his heart. Maybe you just want a friendly innkeeper to keep the ale flowing as you and your friends share tall tales. It's your story to tell, and you can tell it with Storybricks.
The Importance of the Game
Creating a tool is not enough. Putting together bricks doesn't mean much unless it directs the characters in the world. So, Storybricks also requires a sophisticated artificial intelligence layer that drives these characters in the game. They have their own personality, drives, desires, relationships, and emotions. This emotion system for characters is a vital part of the whole Storybricks system, and that's why we can't just release Storybricks as a standalone tool, but rather as part of a game.
We need a game tailored to the Storybricks system because we are dealing with something so new and different from anything else. Non-player characters with emotions, who develop dynamic relationships with the players in the world? Nobody has done this before on this scale. So, it is important that we create create a game that shows off the system properly. We feel the best game for Storybricks is an MMO.
Imagine the possibilities of playing an MMO game with Storybricks at the core. With the emotional system you would see entirely new forms of gameplay. What if faction wasn't just a bar you kill faceless enemies to fill? What if you could develop meaningful friendships in the game? Imagine if every guard in the a city hates you, except for the one guy who owes you his life. Imagine if by doing a personal favor for the queen you didn't get just a bit of experience and coin, but rather a personal favor from the queen you could call in at a later date or use to impress other chracters. Imagine what it would be like to be a diplomat in a land known for it's shifting alliances. All this without need a pick up a "quest" to kill even a single enemy if you don't want to.
The problem? We're a small company with limited resources, and creating a tool and an MMO game is going to be difficult. We have a plan, but we need something first.
We Need Your Support
The good news is that we have already done a lot of work toward realizing this goal of NPCs with real emotions. We have a working version of the tool with some simple emotions, so we know that what we want to to is technically feasible. We have the strong foundation of technology to build better MMOs.
Want to check it out? Visit http://play.storybricks.com/ and see a limited version of our alpha in action with the alpha version of our first game world. It's a humble beginning, but it's just that: the beginning. And we put the power in your hands to tell your stories.
But, it takes a bit of imagination to draw the line between where we are today and what we can be. Imagination that gamers have that others tend to lack. Game developers are happy providing the same old types of gameplay that people are ready to pay for rather than taking risks. Investors aren't sure that there is even a demand for MMOs or new forms of gameplay. But, we know that there can be more than clicking on NPCs and following quest indicators on the minimap.
We need you to lend us your backing and support to continue development of Storybricks and get it ready for wide release. With your help, we'll finish our initial game using that uses Storybricks at the core, and be able to iterate and improve it as we develop other games that use Storybricks.
We're not a bunch of clueless newbies here, promising the impossible without the ability to deliver. Our team has a serious background as game developers, indie pioneers, storytellers, role-players, and visionaries. We have poured our souls into Storybricks, and we want to see it through.
Brian ‘Psychochild’ Green is an experienced MMO developer.
He ran the pioneering MMO Meridian 59 for several years while working on other
projects at many companies. He has
written extensively about how to improve MMOs on his blog at
Stéphane Bura is a tabletop RPG and computer game designer.
His love of role-playing and artificial intelligence lends him the necessary insight to design the
infrastructure that powers Storybricks.
Rodolfo Rosini is a serial tech entrepreneur. His experiences as a raider in MMOs led him
to consider how storytelling could provide what was missing in current games.
Guilherme Stutz Töws is an independent game developer,
responsible for the game Eversion, available on Steam.
Other awesome team members include: Buck Wilson, Ben Sizer, Matthew Dean, Oliver Bermejo Hidalgo, Kelly Heckman, Bart Stewart, Sam Baker.
With these adventurers we have experienced voices to guide them.
Liz Danforth is an experienced artist and writer with experience ranging from Tunnels & Trolls to Wasteland 2, advising
Storybricks on creative and artistic issues.
Richard Bartle is the creator of the original text MUD,
advising Storybricks on MMO and creative issues.
Don Bluth & Gary Goldman are the creative geniuses behindworks such as Dragon’s Lair, Space
Ace, The Secret of NIMH, An American Tail, and many
others. They also advise Storybricks on
Chris Avellone is Chief Creative Officer of Obsidian Entertainment and is
also working on Wasteland 2. He advises
Storybricks on game development issues.
Together our team has the unique experience and vision to innovate the MMO to something more than some groups fighting an endless war while NPCs still expecting you to grind out ten rat tails for every scrap of equipment.
What You Are Backing
Your backing will support development of our first small game world to use Storybricks. Our goal of $250,000 is what we feel is enough to complete the initial version of Storybricks. Ideally, this would be the beginning of the public Beta for our initial small game world, a robust world with the tools in place to tell stories you want to share with friends. But, like any MMO, development wouldn't stop there. We will add more content, more tools, more features, more of everything. With more backing above our goal we could develop the game for longer before we have to start charging people or looking for outside investment, allowing us our independence for longer to listen to our fans rather than chasing more money.
Here are some features we plan to support for our initial version.
- A downloadable client for PC and OSX.
- Female characters and heroes with proper models, textures, and animations.
- Character customization: adjust basic appearance, clothing, equipment, and props.
- A customizable world, including tiles to let players edit their own story space.
- New NPC archetypes, new character defining traits, new emotions and moods, new goals and desires, new behaviors and relationships resulting in billions of unique character definitions.
- New NPC behaviors and interactions.
- More role-playing options for the player character, including adjustable moods.
- A unique magic system that takes advantage of the character emotions
- Factions for characters, pre-defined and defined by the storyteller.
- Persistent relationship generation and alteration.
- Pre-designed plots for storytellers to use.
- Magic items with complex behaviors and effects, configured with Storybricks.
- Combat system, including behaviors for NPCs to fight intelligently on their own.
- Tools to let a storyteller guide players through a story and adjust it in real time.
Your backing is also a vote with your money. You are
voting for innovation and new ideas in MMOs instead of rehashed and
recycled gameplay. This is the most important element, because it
demonstrates that the cries for something truly new and interesting in
MMOs are not hollow, they are a tangible force ready to support such a
The reality is that this project can't happen without you. Without your support, we probably won't be able to realize our goals Please consider backing our project and vote for a new way to experience MMOs.
Want to give it a try?
Storybricks isn't some unrealistic pipe dream, it's a reality. But, this is only the beginning. Head over to http://play.storybricks.com/
to try out our public alpha that will be available during the Kickstarter
campaign. You will need the Unity browser plugin to try it out.
Check out the video at the top for a glimpse at the power of what you can do. You can also try a few simple stories written by our developers:
Create your own stories, and please share them with your friends. Show others the genesis of real storytelling and role-playing in games.
What people are saying
“Don & I are flattered and, honored, to be involved as
consultants/advisors to Storybricks.”
Don Bluth & Gary Goldman, legendary animators (The Land Before Time, Dragon's Lair)
(Concept art for female characters for Storybricks from Don & Gary)
"A bold and intriguing concept aimed at putting game design in the hands of Joe and Jane Gamer."
Justin Olivetti, Massively
"With Storybricks, secret desires and
public reputation are more important than hit points."
Jonathan Tweet, RPG designer (D&D 3rd ed., Ars Magica, 13th Age)
"Wow, this looks awesome... but will it fulfill its promise? I'd bet the answer will be a resounding YES!"
Steve Meretzky, adventure game pioneer (Planetfall, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Zork Zero)
"Games like Minecraft
are successful in allowing the user to shape and carve their world,
Storybricks allows players and designers to do the same with
Chris Avellone, game designer (Planescape:Torment, Wasteland 2)
We appreciate your time and support for our vision. We would really appreciate it if you could help us spread the word. Let others know that there can be more to MMOs than is out there.
If you have questions, please feel free to leave a comment.