By Maurice Suckling, Marek Walton
Published January 2012 List Price:$41.95, Your Amazon.com Price: $31.39
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Summary: This insightful book explores the challenging and evolving world of the games writer.
Part I provides a fascinating overview of the history of games writing following its humble roots in the 60s to today s triple-A titles;Part II asks and answers the key question: what does a games writer do and how do they do it? Especially useful reading for novice game writers, its chapters cover a broad range of topics including contracts, NDAs, creative collaboration, narrative design, editing, adaptations, and environmental storytelling. Part III, of particular value for more advanced students of writing, addresses deeper theoretical questions increasingly relevant in today s games titles, including, Why have story at all? What is plot and how does it work? How best can a writer use agency? Finally, Part IV presents readers with hard-earned nuggets of wisdom from today s game writers working in the US, Europe, and Japan. Packed with practical samples, case studies, and exercises, this book is essential reading for anyone interested in the world of games writing.
BRIEF TABLE OF CONTENTS. Introduction. I: 1: A Brief History of Game Stories. II: 2: Decoding and Devising the Brief. 3: NDAs and Contracts. 4: Collaboration: Team Us. 5: Narrative Design. 6: Outlines and Treatments.
GDNet Staff Review: Video Game Writing: from Macro to Micro is a good compendium of tips for game writers, whether just starting out or looking to improve the breadth of experience in the subject. And this is not just a redundant text not unlike the array of "How to write a book" texts that have been seemingly presented since publishing began. Because games are different. Games, with few exceptions, are not a single narrative that proceeds from beginning to end. Games have branches and loops and outcomes that are dependent on choices you make. And, with the exception of those "choose your own adventure" books, this is not something that happens with a standard story or script.
After the obligatory introduction and a helpful chapter on dealing with NDA's, the book gets into the steps of creating a story and then translating that story into the story's design and in-game prose. You'll learn how to plan a story that is coherent. And you will learn how to write character dialogue that is varied but not annoying to the reader/player.
A couple of things that Video Game Writing: from Macro to Micro is not. It is not a manual of style or grammar. While this book is not one of those, I would recommend that you have good grammar and own a recent book of technical style (I know that Yahoo and Microsoft both have ones), because unless you are developing a medieval fantasy adventure, you will need some styles to pin down, and you don't want your jargon progressing from "e-mail" to "email" to "eMail". Also I would recommend a good book on grammar. It is downright sloppy to have a misused then/than in a finished product, so plan for it.
This book is all about story and how to build a coherent game-related story. There are plenty of examples, and you'll definitely learn something.