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Story Development Game Mechanics Document - Version 1

Note
This is the story draft that was published about a month ago as of 09-27-2014. A new story draft will probably be published some time in the next 3 months. Major changes are expected, and the story and mechanics will probably be broken into separate documents.

Secret Maryo Chronicles Story Development Document

Prepared by: Chris Jacobsen

datahead8888 [at] gmail.com

Introduction

Maryo is a child known for causing mischief. His mother is always getting onto him for not reading or otherwise studying. Instead he continually throws on a bandana and plays adventure games at the tree house (sometimes with a number of other mischievous children). One day, while playing, he is unexpectedly sucked through a portal into another world.

He finds himself in a beautiful magical world – almost a perfect world except for the fact that it is inhabited by monsters. The portal leading home is still wide open, but he concludes he'd be better off stomping on the monsters than heading back home in order to do boring studying.

He soon hears of an ancient race that once lived on the island, a race rumored to have a great treasure on the island. He sets out in order to find the treasure. He soon discovers that the monsters are organized and may be preparing for an attack on his world...

Concepts

One reason we all enjoy the first Super Mario Brothers game is because of the good control and game play. The other reason is the concepts.

There are 3 major concepts in Super Mario Bros:

  • Plumbing
  • Mushrooms
  • An evil race of turtles

These are 3 possible concepts for Secret Maryo:

  • Monsters (can include traditional monsters such as furball as well as ferocious animals)
  • An ancient civilization
  • Libraries/reading

If you read the manual for Super Mario Bros, it actually goes so far as to explain the origins of game mechanics such as invisible blocks and the origins of goombas. Invisible blocks are mushroom people who were made invisible by Bowser's wand and who will give items to help Mario if he finds them. Goombas were originally mushroom people, but they were deformed by the cruel and evil Bowser. We might want to consider doing something similar with Secret Maryo, explaining different game mechanics as possible.

Villain – The Librarian

The librarian guards The Great Library. As time goes on, various hints lead Maryo to believe that the monsters have an evil leader who is directing them (the librarian) and that this leader is bent on ruling the world. The Librarian is a member of the ancient race that once ruled the island. He is the final guardian of the Great Library.

The Ancient Race

The ancient race had a great respect for knowledge. Libraries were seen as sacred places. They did not have a purpose for computers because they were able to accomplish more by using magical books. Having lived in the fantasy world, they left a number of libraries and ruins throughout.

Proposals for New Worlds

  • Final world – The Great Library
    • Sub-Boss – a giant book that tries to smash Maryo from the top of the screen
    • Boss – The Librarian
  • Second to Final World – The City of the Ancients
  • Third to Final World – The Monster Factory
    • This is where the monsters are created. They literally are shot out of tubes (not pipes). Just imagine the furball assembly line.
    • The monsters love pancakes and waffles and use them as a currency
    • They have a waffle cafeteria within the monster factory
    • Sub-Boss – The Waffle Chef
  • Elemental Worlds – Lava (volcano), grass, water, ice, desert, air, space, jungle, and more
    • An elemental world can almost entirely focus on a theme or focus on a theme within a region of the world
  • Monster Outpost
    • This world is either a gigantic fortress or a collection of smaller fortresses
    • Boss – Furball Knight

Proposals for special locations within worlds

  • Fortress – a number of smaller fortresses manned by monsters dot the countryside
  • Secret Library – Every world (or every other world) has a small, secret library. These are akin to hidden ghost houses in Super Mario World. Having been abandoned, some of the libraries are now overrun by ghosts.
  • Ruins – Occasionally ruins of the ancient civilization's cities show up in worlds

Power Ups

Many of the mushrooms as they stand in Secret Maryo will readily be identified as being from a Mario game. The Star Man image is a bit better but will still be recognized. The fire flower looks more original, but it still is a fire flower.

One alternative might be to replace the power ups with magical books, based on the library theme. Upon reading a magical book, Maryo gains a special power. Because of his short attention span, he can only remember one power at a time. Fortunately, he can carry an extra book in his back pack (the item box at the top of the screen). If hit by an enemy, Maryo becomes scared and forgets the book he just read.

Proposals for Power Ups - The “Light” Books

  • The Book of Size – Replaces the Mushroom – Makes Maryo become tall
  • This book grows legs and tries to run from Maryo
  • The Book of Fire – Replaces the Fire Flower – Gives Maryo the ability to shoot fireballs
  • The Book of Ice – Replaces the Ice Mushroom – Gives Maryo the ability to shoot ice balls
  • The Book of Ghosts – Replaces the Ghost Mushroom – Gives Maryo ghost abilities
  • The Book of Lightning – Replaces the Star Man – Makes Maryo invincible with “Lightning Power”
    • The book grows legs and tries to hop away from Mario like a Kangaroo
  • The Book of Water – Magically gives Maryo a scuba suit
    • Allows him to go without air for longer in both quicksand and water
    • Improved swimming abilities
  • The Book of Sand – Gives Maryo special abilities to wade through quicksand (or soft sand)
    • Should this book give air benefits? There's a lot of fun in discovering the scuba suit can be used in quicksand and that it opens up hidden areas. We could also control how rare each power up is.
  • The Book of Air – Gives Maryo the ability to fly (with wings or like a squirrel?)
    • This book grows wings and tries to fly away from Maryo
  • The Book of Life – Replaces the One Up Mushroom - Gives Maryo one extra life (does not give him an altered state of play)
    • This book tries to escape from Maryo, growing legs, like the book of size
  • It would be interesting if we made it move faster than the book of size – this would be give us different behavior than Super Mario Brothers

Each book can have a special drawn image on it. We could start out with simple icons and switch to more detailed images as we get time. They still can change Maryo's appearance – they are magical after all.

The Dark Books

  • The Dark Book of Size – Replaces the bad mushroom – it runs towards Maryo and tries to harm him
  • The Dark Book of Lightning – Tries to hop toward Maryo
  • The Dark Book of Air – A flying book that hovers above and then dives after Maryo

The Dark Books also gives us an evil book type of enemy that can be used in libraries. They can either appear from question blocks or be directly placed in levels as enemies. Power ups should also be able to be placed directly in levels, without question blocks.

Currency

Different worlds can have different currencies. Regions of worlds or individual levels can also have different currencies. Currency simply means tokens collected – 100 of them give a new life.

I was thinking each world (or group of worlds) could have a different currency. The monster heavy worlds could use waffles (monsters love waffles so much they use them to buy things). The ruins and/or library levels could have a special coin with an ancient symbol on it. The ice world could use chips of ice with an engraving. Another world could have apples as a currency. Yet another could have star shaped crystals.

(I didn't even realize the game had Maryo collecting waffles until I saw Spit Fire's video. I had to revise my story plans, since any item that is that common needs to be explained. I really need to get my hands on a development build).

Chronicles

The introductory text could be presented at the start of the game. Each world could then have a page with a small story segment.

The game could contain multiple reading levels – advanced and basic. Basic would be designed with simpler words so that young children could more easily read it. Advanced would be geared toward an older audience with a better vocabulary. Which modes are available may vary per translation (though we'd want to support as much as feasible).

If we have text at a lower reading level, I may not be the best person to write it – I have a tendency to go ahead and use more expansive phrasing and larger words when writing fiction.

We could look into implementing reading levels as additional translation files per language. Reading level selection probably needs to be displayed on game startup, or a lot of people will miss it.

Conclusion

Maryo defeats the librarian. He comes to discover that the librarian was NOT planning on attacking his world at all. Maryo in his over-ambitiousness jumped to conclusions and began causing trouble in his attempts to save the day. The librarian simply was trying to protect the ruins and libraries from mischievous young boys. As for the monsters, the librarian sent them to guard the island, but monsters are monsters. They tend to get carried away and build lava filled fortresses and scare travelers. The treasure is actually a storehouse of books with great knowledge and incredible literature.

Maryo befriends the librarian, who shows him the importance of reading. Maryo learns two basic lessons. First, he needs to value reading and studying in order to gain the knowledge he needs to be successful in life. Second, he needs to listen to other people, behave, and not jump to rash conclusions. Maryo also befriends the monsters, and he is seen riding a large furball in one of the closing scenes. Maryo finally returns home, reconciles with his mother, and is seen reading his books in the final scene.

Keep in mind that the game player does not realize the librarian is a good guy and that Maryo is the bad guy (misbehaving boy) through most of the game. As far as the player knows, the monsters are up to no good and have one bad dude in charge. Also, keep in mind that having an imperfect hero adds more depth to character development, and it gives a good chance to teach young players some life lessons.

Multiplayer Possibilities

Maryo has a brother and/or friends who he often plays with in his tree house. Sucked into the magical world with him, they jump to the same conclusions he does about the monsters taking over the world and are just as excited about the hidden treasure.

His friends have a variety of adventurous outfits similar to Maryo's bandana – think of the Lost Boys from the movie Hook.

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