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How to structure a story for pitching ? + other questions.


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#1 Zac Andrews   Members   -  Reputation: 129

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 05:44 AM

Hello all.

I have been reading through this site (and others) for the last couple
days and was wondering if anyone could shed some light on a few
questions I have about writing for a games. Sorry if these are something
I should've figured on my own or read elsewhere, couldn't hurt to ask
!
The questions are in bold with some elaborating underneath.

 

Any help would be appreciated !

 



-Is it okay to write a story that is partially told through the game design ?
One of the first guide lines I came across regarding writing a story for a game was that it is NOT game design. A writer should be a writer for the story and script and not trying to design the games functionality.
I find this a very challenging thing to avoid though.
I feel as I am sure most of you do that the games mechanics have a huge
impact on telling the story and I often find myself thinking "for this
scene to have the most impact the game must have 'this mechanic' or
'this visual ascetic'. So as the question states - Is it okay to build
your story with a certain end product in mind ?


-How do you present a story to a development team and do they need it ?
I have found a lot of the tips on pitching and presenting to be regarding
the entire game as a whole, presented from development team to a
potential publisher. This indicates to me that they already have
everything in the game ready to go as well as the story itself, Dev
teams, artists, programmers, overview of mechanics and business plans
etc. My question is do Dev teams need writers on a regular basis ? As I
would imagine that is the
Director that has the vision for the game even if he needs a writer to
spit-shine his story, Do they want/need writers pitching their own ideas ?


That brings me to the second part of that question. How to pitch to a studio?
Like I said above, when the studio pitches to their/potential publisher they
already have a lot more than just the story in the works. Does a writer
pitch a story to a studio and also explain the intended game
feel/design that supports the story's style and feel OR does the writer
simply provide the events as a novel type format and the studio builds a
game using elements of the story ?


 



 

 



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#2 Ashaman73   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 5793

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 06:16 AM

Ok, there will be better answers, but I try to shed atleast some sparkles on your questions.

 

Is it okay to write a story that is partially told through the game design ?

Yes, of course. If you just want to tell a story without using the game design, you would write more or less a book.

 

How do you present a story to a development team and do they need it ?

First off, stories in most games seems to be less important than other parts like game play. But there's a certain genre which needs a strong story line, most often narrative rpgs (e.g. Mass Effect) or story telling games (e.g. Walking Dead). I would compare it to TV series. There's the main plot, characters, setting etc. which will be defined for the series. The second part is to write a story/plot for each tv session. The same could be said about games. The general theme, character concepts, plot will be defined upfront before pitching it to a publisher, later on you need writers to write dialogs, quests etc. to get some meat on the story.

 

How to pitch to a studio?

I'm sorry, but the first question would be: Is it possible to pitch a story to a studio ?

Answer: very unlikely sad.png



#3 Zac Andrews   Members   -  Reputation: 129

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 06:26 AM

Ok, there will be better answers, but I try to shed atleast some sparkles on your questions.

Excellent !, I can see ever so slightly better :P

I'm sorry, but the first question would be: Is it possible to pitch a story to a studio ?

Answer: very unlikely sad.png

 

Living in a small town 400ks from a major city and 3400ks from any Australian area with gaming studios.
Writing for games seems pretty damn tough from where I am sitting ! haha.
I suppose they avoid they online community's for potential authors when it is so greatly over saturated :(

Thank you for the feedback !



#4 Ashaman73   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 5793

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 07:56 AM

I suppose they avoid they online community's for potential authors when it is so greatly over saturated sad.png

It is difficult, I think that you need to relocate, if you want to work in a larger studio. If you want to work over the internet, indie projects are more likely to hire you... but..

the role of writers and game designers are often not beset with a single person, most often the team, an artist or a coder take in the role.

 

You could try to work as freelancer.



#5 Sporniket   Members   -  Reputation: 263

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 10:28 AM

my 2 cents...

 

-Is it okay to write a story that is partially told through the game design ?

To my mind, telling game design in your story limits the option to actually make the game, (i.e if you speak of xp point or rpg element it will have to be an rpg, more likely). So in an early project, I feel it would be better to avoid game design element.

IF the game design has been decided, then you might hint how the story and the gameplay will fit together


Space Zig-Zag, a casual game of skill for Android by Sporniket-Studio.com


#6 M4uesviecr   Members   -  Reputation: 419

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 03:13 PM

I am in partial agreement with Sporn. Though I do believe that thinking too much about gameplay can hinder the flow and limit the possibilites of your story, omitting the gameplay aspect until after the fact can be just as detrimental. I have played a few games where, though the storyline was fantastic, there were plenty of gameplay elements that could have been fixed, or altered (the first that comes to mind for me is Persona 3. Though a good game, sometimes it felt like there was more story telling going on than actually gameplay. As if they made the story, then stuck in gameplay ideas).

 

I, personally, believe that equitable amounts of love should be shown to both.

 

I don't want to say that thinking of the story first and gameplay second (or vice versa) is a bad thing. Good things can come of it, and for some people, that is simply how they think. I would be mindful of both.


Edited by M4uesviecr, 05 February 2013 - 03:15 PM.

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#7 Zac Andrews   Members   -  Reputation: 129

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 04:51 PM

Thank you for great feed back and opinions everyone.


I really want to write and create, my initial thought was video games would be the most logical medium for my ideas.

But considering the structure of the industry and my personal limitations I think I may have to start on a different outlet and

maybe in the future work up to writing for games.



#8 Bruno Primiano   Members   -  Reputation: 101

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 02:33 AM

Hello all.

I have been reading through this site (and others) for the last couple
days and was wondering if anyone could shed some light on a few
questions I have about writing for a games. Sorry if these are something
I should've figured on my own or read elsewhere, couldn't hurt to ask
!
The questions are in bold with some elaborating underneath.

 

Any help would be appreciated !

 



-Is it okay to write a story that is partially told through the game design ?
One of the first guide lines I came across regarding writing a story for a game was that it is NOT game design. A writer should be a writer for the story and script and not trying to design the games functionality.
I find this a very challenging thing to avoid though.
I feel as I am sure most of you do that the games mechanics have a huge
impact on telling the story and I often find myself thinking "for this
scene to have the most impact the game must have 'this mechanic' or
'this visual ascetic'. So as the question states - Is it okay to build
your story with a certain end product in mind ?


-How do you present a story to a development team and do they need it ?
I have found a lot of the tips on pitching and presenting to be regarding
the entire game as a whole, presented from development team to a
potential publisher. This indicates to me that they already have
everything in the game ready to go as well as the story itself, Dev
teams, artists, programmers, overview of mechanics and business plans
etc. My question is do Dev teams need writers on a regular basis ? As I
would imagine that is the
Director that has the vision for the game even if he needs a writer to
spit-shine his story, Do they want/need writers pitching their own ideas ?


That brings me to the second part of that question. How to pitch to a studio?
Like I said above, when the studio pitches to their/potential publisher they
already have a lot more than just the story in the works. Does a writer
pitch a story to a studio and also explain the intended game
feel/design that supports the story's style and feel OR does the writer
simply provide the events as a novel type format and the studio builds a
game using elements of the story ?


 



 

Hi Zac,

 

About the questions:

 

1- Sometimes, as writer you'll have the chance to give some ideas in the gamedesign, but it depends on the studio you are working for. AAA games use to deal with diferent departaments on this. People to write, people to make the design, etc.

 

2- one of the great mistakes about games is to treat de scrrenplay as a secondary element. Any professional team should have a writer, so, you have to find them.

 

3- well, write something and try contact, send your work and, most important: you must have some writer activity (blog, book, tales) to show. 



#9 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 7404

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 09:24 PM

Zac Andrews, on 05 Feb 2013 - 03:52, said:

1. Is it okay to write a story that is partially told through the game design ?
2. How do you present a story to a development team
2.5. and do they need it ?
3. How to pitch to a studio?

1. It's not okay to write a story that is never told through the game design. In other words, this is the game industry. Story must serve game. Not the other way around.

2. You find out what game they're working on, and you tailor the story to the game they're working on.

2.5. Probably not.

3. Phone and introduce yourself. If not rebuffed, request an in-person pitch meeting, and email them your resume with your awesome film-writing, fiction-writing, or other spectacular credentials, and a link to your online portfolio. http://sloperama.com/advice/lesson32.htm

Living in a small town 400ks from a major city and 3400ks from any Australian area with gaming studios.
Writing for games seems pretty damn tough from where I am sitting ! haha.

Then move. lol.

http://sloperama.com/advice/lesson24.htm

http://sloperama.com/advice/lesson27.htm


-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.




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