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Landfish

Game Writers RANT! (flamers welcome)

92 posts in this topic

>>About writing in games: You ask "1st person, 2nd or 3rd.". How about none?
"There''s a table in the center of the room, underneath the crystal chandelier. Several people are sitting around it, playing cards."<<

The example you give is third person. A literal definition of third person is, "A set of grammatical forms used in referring to a person or thing other than the speaker or the one spoken to." If you have a statement like the one above, where no specific speaker is identified, it is assumed that the speaker is an unknown "narrator" and that they are speaking in third person, because they are not referring to themselves or anything that happened to them. You being the author, most readers will assume you are the narrator.

I think what you are thinking of is what is called the omniscient narrator, who does not necessarily focus on just one character. The omniscient narrator knows everything and will tell the reader about different characters and follow more than one character around. You find this in Final Fantasy games.

There is also the subjective narrator, also called "subjective third person", who follows only one person so closely that it''s almost like being in first person -- you know what''s going on in their head and their heart, but have no clue what''s going on in the minds of other characters. This is like Monkey Island, where Guybrush is a third person character but tells the player what is on his mind. We don''t know, however, what is on the mind of any other character unless they say so. This is a little of a stretch, but I think it qualifies.

I''m glad to see you guys do, indeed, know what second person is. That''s the one that everyone forgets after they graduate from high school. :-) Now, about the spelling around here ... (kidding!!)
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I think the ''no-person'' example would actually fit well with second person. As opposed to the endless ''you-see-such-and-such'' lines, you describe things in a neutral way, until you need to worry about the character''s thoughts / actions. Might keep all the ''you''-ing from getting too obnoxious.

In general, though, I think second person works best with present-tense narration, which in turn is the best way to involve the reader in an interactive scene. But it seems like a lot of game writing is actually pure dialogue, which would make it a moot point, wouldn''t it?

-Moth
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I think the main problem is, how do you communicate with yourself? How do you capture thoughts?

You don''t think things like "I see a chair over there". You think "There''s a chair over there."
You don''t think "I see a person looking at me", you think "Why is that geezer eyeballing me?".
However, it''s intrusive, because these are probably NOT your thoughts! So unless you SEE the guy looking at you, and it doesn''t have to be verbally communicated, it''s always going to be a little awkward.


People might not remember what you said, or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
~ (V)^|) |<é!t|-| ~
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My thoughts are like that.

I''ll say "You need to go to work."
"I don''t want to go."
"But you have to."
"Shut up."

and it goes on from there for a while
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I do happen to agree with land fish. He made a good point when he made mention that there has NEVER been a game that has stood the test of time as ONE OF THE GREATEST games that everone aroudn the world knows of, whether they play or not.

God EVERYONE knows what STAR WARS was - a movie. Even if they havent seen it, they know of it. Perhaps the only game close to that level of fame was PONG. thats because it was really the first real game ever made on a pc....

I am a published author ( of fantasy fiction ), and I am also a programmer. I am currently turning the book i wrote into a game. its a dman good. It offers things that others don''t because BOOKS move DifferentlY than the same old boring movie or game story. Do you know how long the story was for doom??? it was only 3 pages long!!!!!! my novel is 330 pages long! I believe what landfish is saying is

THE GAME INDSUTRY NEEDS CONTENT, NOT MORE GRAPHICS CARDS/API

I agree.

Amen to LandFish.



to Code, or Not To Code
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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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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 (tm).

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

-------------------------------------------
"What's the story with your face, son?!?"
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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."
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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"
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Indeed. How in the world did this thread get so far off topic?

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