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rHornbek

Exercise, looking for Writers

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Hello, Game Writers I am working on improving my skills at Game Design but more specifically Game Development. I have been browsing this corner of the forum for some time, observing how many of the writers are compiling their ideas and stories. I tend to encounter a lot of general concepts that don't quite have a plot, but not lacking potential. More interestingly however I encounter stories with defined characters, plot, environments and much more, but they do not have any gameplay elements (or room for them). If read like a novel the stories are wonderful, but for a game developer adapting the story into a game is an interesting challenge. What I would like to do as an exercise for both myself and any interested writers, is to discus their story and ideas and see if we can't make it look more like a game and less like a novel. If you are interested in the subject feel free to comment here or even ask questions, I would love to share my findings. If you are interested in engaging the exercise with me, please send a personal message. NOTE: I am not here to take or create anyones idea, just help them develop them into something that looks more like a game. Any ideas I share with you on your writing is yours to keep. I am not here for ideas but experience working with them. Thanks!

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I think many game writers dream of creating the type of game which is basically an interactive novel/anime series (like a Final Fantasy or Myst game, perhaps with dating sim elements), or perhaps an mmo (like WoW) which would be more like a virtual world. People consider themselves to be writers instead of game designers when they think in terms of story first, and gameplay second. Of course many of us are both, or as players we insist that a game has both a good story and good gameplay. I love to see people help each other develop their ideas, I'm just a bit doubtful when you talk about making things 'look like a game' - there are so many genres of gameplay, several ways to fit the gameplay and the story together, which one did you have in mind? Yes a game story needs gameplay design to make it complete, but some of the most typical ways of combining a story and gameplay are awful and trying to hammer a story into that type of mold would degrade the story.

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I could not agree more sunandshadow, this is part of the reason I would like to perform this exercise. Then I won't make the same mistake others have, great stories with unmotivated gameplay.

I am fully aware that most game writers have a vision of how the game should work with the story, but they don't develop that. I am just as guilty when I develop gameplay concepts and little to no story.

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Writing a game story and a novel tend to differ in more than a few unexplainable ways :) Specifically how you do the pacing and introduction of scenes- I'm always imagining some game scenario laid out and writing that. Typically it doesn't render to a novel.

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Well as far as story goes, the fact that a given game story might work well as a novel is a testament to the integrity and strength of the story itself.

Designing open ended possibilities and game play is not necessarily needed in the main basic story outline; those bits of design are generally a separate step in the full design.

Novice and hobbyist game designers are likely to focus on one aspect more than another.

My first attempt at game design I focused almost entirely on designing combat related things like specific enemies and abilities, and did nothing with story.

These days I mostly dream up stories that are stories as opposed to games (decided to try and become an author instead of game designer), though I do have a few game ideas floating around.

My main idea right now is a sci fi MMO based around a future in which humanity has taken the genetic engineering route to a huge leap. Full fledged mutants and clones are outlawed but do exist, while most of the population has improved / super power like abilities due to gene therapy.

The players start off in a given role based on factions, but they can branch out soon after the tutorial section of the game. They can stick to their faction or shift alliances. Each faction is trying to gain majority control of the mega city ( a city about 10x as big as NYC, floating over most of Nevada).

The npc population is a docile hyper consumerism based society, and some factions seek to keep it that way while others are attempting to break the strangle hold corporations have on the population.

That conflict comprises much of the game's initial content, but the late levels introduce aliens to the mix as humanity has just made first contact with an alien race.

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