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Game Writers RANT! (flamers welcome)


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#81 Jumpster   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 15 September 2000 - 10:38 AM

This will probably be construed as off topic, but here goes!

The natural progression of communication goes from; verbal, literary (reading), visual (movies/games). With each progression we get further and further away from understanding the communiction itself.

When talking to somebody personally, it''s easier to get the point across. Notice I said easier, not necessarily easy.

Following that is reading. One person''s words written on paper means (X) - how can it mean anything different? That''s what I wrote. Person two reads (X) and envisions something totally off base of the intent. Subtle clues in the individual''s mind lead the reader to believe the context (note: "con"-opposite; "text" ''nuff said) has changed (though they don''t know it or at least somehow know it but don''t know how it changed). How many times have you seen this on this very message board? One person says one thing (either to or about another person) and the other person (or even passer-bys) interprets the context in the wrong way? Tempers flare. Words are exchanged etc. Now, what is the liklihood of that same misunderstanding if the words were spoken and not written?

Next is the visual communications; particularly movies. Sometimes, movies can be construed as a median between verbal and written text because of the interactivity of the characters themselves. People can detect the subtle changes in voice-tone and body language to better distinguish between the different contexts of the words being spoken as opposed to having to read the words by themselves.

Now here''s where the problem comes in. When I read a book, taken out of context or not, I envision a scene depicted totally different than what some other reader would see. How many times have you read a book and then Hollywood made it a movie? Totally different isn''t it? Add to that, the the next interpretation of that vision by the game designer/graphic artists. Compound that with the fact that movies are literally scripted. Scene 1: Star walks in, meteor falls from the sky just over the stars head etc...

With a game, once scene one is introduced; the player of the game from then on has the reigns. The choices the player makes can (and often does) profoundly impact the storyline. Trying to stick to a storyline once the player goes off course throws the whole game off course. How can anybody specifically write a game that can take each one of the player''s choices into consideration without scripting the whole of the game? I think that is why I resented FF7. I will say however, that without some scripting of the storyline, then the game itself would not be very fun to play. Who wants a game that would be nothing but uncontrolled chaos unless that was the intent of the game in the first place?

Anyway, the point of this whole soap-box is this. Even though games are just another implementation of visual communications, similar to movies, there is yet another layer of progression that detracts us further from the intent of the communication (story). That is the fact that movies are scripted and rehersed; games are interactive with some guidelines to follow. So, in short, I do agree that maybe there should be some dedicated writers who may try to account for the deviances from the storyline for the games but I always thought that there were. Why do we see credits at the end of the game: "Writer..." if there aren''t?


Regards,
Jumpster



Semper Fi

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#82 ochavelli   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 16 September 2000 - 10:02 PM

Reading through this thread, I have found 4 (if memory serves) definitions of "Art".

So what''s my point?

Well, each of those definitions is unique, and each is equally vague. I think that in our attempts to define art, we have proven ( or at least suggested) that it cannot be defined. I''ll betcha that trick scores some major points on the LandFish Story Meter ™.

And we weren''t even trying.

Expressing an idea without beating the audience over the head with it is tough to do. If this thread does nothing else, it will serve as an excellent example of that.

#83 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 17 September 2000 - 03:44 AM

Aboslutely. Trying to define art is for the Philosophers to do, not Game Writers (or designers..).


#84 pacman   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 17 September 2000 - 08:17 AM

Well, if anyone is a philosopher, it''s you Landfish

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"What's the story with your face, son?!?"

#85 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 17 September 2000 - 03:18 PM

A philosopher is just a scientist who doesn''t need evidence.

#86 Nazrix   Members   -  Reputation: 307

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Posted 17 September 2000 - 03:21 PM

quote:
Original post by Landfish

A philosopher is just a scientist who doesn''t need evidence.






"Even though the course may change sometimes, the rivers always reach the sea."


#87 ahw   Members   -  Reputation: 263

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Posted 17 September 2000 - 08:59 PM

quote:
Original post by Landfish
A philosopher is just a scientist who doesn''t need evidence.


Uh ! Do you really wanna start an argument on what a Philosopher is ?
As for the definition of Art, yeah, that''s a pretty hard topic, so hard that I would say it''s almost pointless to try and define it ... "No one can be told what Art is, you''ll have to see it for yourself"

#88 pacman   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 18 September 2000 - 11:31 AM

Indeed. How in the world did this thread get so far off topic?

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"What's the story with your face, son?!?"

#89 Landfish   Members   -  Reputation: 288

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Posted 18 September 2000 - 12:04 PM

It''s a rant, pac-dogger. It never really had a topic to start with.

#90 mason   Members   -  Reputation: 128

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Posted 20 September 2000 - 01:03 PM

I nod my head to the sprit of Landfish's original rant. A couple of additonal thoughts: It's a sad thing that "good writing" is so far down on the priority list. It's sadder that our choices to buy flashy games instead of well-written ones has moved "good writing" even further down the publisher's priority list.

Now, my main point: I believe the reason for all the bad writing in games is the fact that too many people think it's easy to tell the difference between good and bad writing.

Example: You write some code. How do you tell if it's bad or good? Easy, you whip out your debugger and profiler and start poking it.

Now, you write a short story. How do you tell if it bad or good?

If you can't list at least 5 things you can do (and yes, there are very many different things you can do), please do not consider yourself a writer.

Good writers know exactly why they suck.

Mason McCuskey
Spin Studios
www.spin-studios.com

Edited by - mason on September 20, 2000 8:08:07 PM

#91 Knarkles   Members   -  Reputation: 271

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Posted 20 September 2000 - 06:34 PM

quote:
Original post by mason

Good writers know exactly why they suck.


Hey, cool. I know I suck because I can''t think of a good basic idea for stories. I must be a good writer, then.

-Jussi

#92 Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*   Guests   -  Reputation:

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Posted 21 September 2000 - 11:31 AM

Hell Yeah Landfish! I hate books

#93 Moth   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 21 September 2000 - 05:06 PM

Hmm. If I want to know if something I''ve written is any good, I badger someone else into reading it. Preferably another writer who I can trust to tell me if it''s not. Other than that... I can''t think of anything. So, what''s the secret? What are the five steps to being a great writer? ;P




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