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sunandshadow

Article Ideas About Writing For Games

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It's been proposed that I write one or more articles for this crossbones thing.  I occasionally enjoy writing educational non-fiction, whether about writing theory and techniques or other topics.  But I don't want to reinvent the wheel by covering a topic that many people have already covered well in existing how-to-write books and intro-to-creative-writing classes and similar websites.  And I'm not qualified to write anything about getting a job as a writer within the industry, so I'm preemptively crossing that topic off the list.  But other than that, this is a general call for suggestion of what you would actually like to read articles about.  It can be either about game stories and scripts, or about game technical writing such as design documents.  I'm also interested in writing things about game design, so you may as well toss those ideas in too if you have any.

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It seems as though many are writing articles geared for the beginner, myself included.  What I hope sets mine apart, is that I also wrote a simple game to go along with it.

So, for me personally, I would like to see an article(s) that goes 1 or 2 steps beyond the beginner level.  I struggle with C++, because of the so many cryptic coding.  Even when I read the books on games and C++, the author uses methods within user defined classes without adequately explaing what is going on.  So, HELP.  I would be willing to collaborate,  May I could pose problems I have through what I am trying to learn and program them, and you could answer in an article.

 

I figure if I have the question, many others do as well, but just don not know how to ask properly.  Then I coild tell you if you answered the question I asked.

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It seems as though many are writing articles geared for the beginner, myself included.  What I hope sets mine apart, is that I also wrote a simple game to go along with it.

So, for me personally, I would like to see an article(s) that goes 1 or 2 steps beyond the beginner level.  I struggle with C++, because of the so many cryptic coding.  Even when I read the books on games and C++, the author uses methods within user defined classes without adequately explaing what is going on.  So, HELP.  I would be willing to collaborate,  May I could pose problems I have through what I am trying to learn and program them, and you could answer in an article.

 

I figure if I have the question, many others do as well, but just don not know how to ask properly.  Then I coild tell you if you answered the question I asked.

Um, I'm a bit confused by the C++ example.  I did make it clear that I'm talking about writing game stories, right?  And design documents, maybe.  But it has nothing to do with coding, I'm not a programmer.

 

But, as an example, it's true that I'd rather writer for people who are beyond the beginner level.  So I need to find out what they are struggling with in terms of designing game stories or creating design documents.  The thing I've struggled the most with myself is plot, but it has been my experience that only a small percentage of writers are interested in reading about plot.  Character arc and theme are closely related to plot.  Word choice and sentence structure I don't give a crap about and think other people obsess about them too much.  POV seems like a straightforward choice to me and is another thing I'm confused why people angst over.  How to work with beta readers and how to be a beta reader are useful topics, but I've read pretty thorough discussions of them.  The history of writing theory from Aristotle to present things like act theory, hero's journey, snowflake method, MRUs, scene and sequel, and vector theory interests me, but again it doesn't seem to interest a very large percentage of writers - I offered a free class on it and no one applied to be a student. dry.png

 

I think what most writers want to talk about, if they want to talk about anything at all, is their own stories.  But this doesn't work very well because they mostly aren't interested in each others' stories.

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Um, I'm a bit confused by the C++ example. I did make it clear that I'm talking about writing game stories, right? And design documents, maybe. But it has nothing to do with coding, I'm not a programmer.

  I guess I was a bit confused as well. When you asked for suggestions, you breifly touched on areas of interest.  You should have stated that you were not a programmer!!  If not that, Then you should have clearly stated your strengths and field of expertise.

  Unfortunatley, if you yourself struggle with a plot, how could you possibly assist in designing game stories ( Potatoe - Potahtoe) and design documents.  Stories revolve around plots, some side stories elvolve out of plots.  Design documents grow out of plots. 

   <Sidebar:  MRUs ?  I am not a big fan of this type of abbreiviations,  The only ones who know what you are reverring to is the ones who know what you are referring to.>

the proper way to use such an item, especially in a forum such is this is to first spell it out   >>  My Rainy Umbrella(MRU)  then everybody knows what you mean. Now when I use MRU everyone knows that I am Refferring to My Rainy Umbrella

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This is the "writing for games" forum, in the forum group "the creative side", and the thread title also says writing for games... that means stories, not programming.  This might not be clear to a non-native English speaker?  But still, everything I mentioned in the first post had to do with writing words, none of it had to do with writing code.

 

Because I've found plot to be the most challenging topic of writing, it's the one I've studied the most and know the most about now.  In some cases the teacher who has struggled with a topic is better suited to teach it than the teacher who had an instinctive understanding of the topic and never really had to work to understand it.

 

MRU is indeed a mysterious acronym, but it doesn't actually get much clearer if I write it out as "motivation-reaction units".  It's a theory about how to construct scenes, it says that each scene needs to have both a section about a character's motivation and a section about a character's taking action in response to something.  I was including MRU as one of several examples of modern fiction theory that may be something of interest for an intermediate or advanced writer to learn.

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Okay whilst I completely admit to laughing while reading the previous posts and fully realising that it is an occasional result of communication, lets get it on track.
 

so first of all -- If you are reading this forum and you are not sunandshadow or myself and you have an opinion regarding what types of articles you would like to see created for this particular field i.e. writing for games....then SPEAK UP!

 

This is a creative forum -- That means we should be able to develop entirely different ways and ideas of making articles and more over we should NOT be afraid of expanding the boundaries of our purview in this forum.

 

Writing for games - is not only creative - it can be technical -- for example writing the basic instructions on how to play the game. It does not have to be directed purely at writing that is used in games - it can be an article that looks at a game and analyses its writing/lore etc. A recent lounge thread highlights one such approach taken by a feminist blogger. Writing for games includes issues such as creating content for use in marketing materials, you must look at dynamics like how do you plan for a sequel yet give the player the experience of a full-bodied game, it looks at issues like how do you write interwoven storylines that individually hold up as well collectively contribute to the overall game plot (and believe me when I say that this often poorly handled as shown by many people saying things like "I am here to kill a dragon and this game has got me picking apples for an old lady which has nothing to do with the dragon or killing 15 giant bees in order to get a hat). It comes down to issues like learning to create entirely new languages for use in games...can we say klingon or elvish or spell names and character names.

 

 

The point I am trying to make is this: Do not simply think that writing a story to be used in a game is all there is. But in all honesty how many people out there know that? And if you don't know this stuff or other related issues  - why aren't you writing your suggestions for articles in this thread. Writing for games is the poor cousin in the site and damned if I aint going to drag it out of the doldrums it has been malingering in for a while - So start talking and help make this forum a font of inspiration.

Edited by Stormynature

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I asked for suggestions at another writing forum I hang out at, since I figured, the more the better.  Here's a summary of their suggestions:

- what makes a story good?

- how do you analyze someone else's story to figure out how to emulate the things that make it good?

- what makes a strong beginning?

- why do certain stories appear in games over and over again; do they work with gameplay in a particularly useful way?

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so first of all -- If you are reading this forum and you are not sunandshadow or myself and you have an opinion regarding what types of articles you would like to see created for this particular field i.e. writing for games....then SPEAK UP!

I'm tempted to conclude we just have a lack of game writers hanging out here.

 

I did start writing an article BTW.  So far it's mainly about "what kinds of game stories are there?"

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I'm tempted to conclude we just have a lack of game writers hanging out here.

 

I am not disagreeing. It is one of the reasons I think we are in need of increasing activity on this forum - Articles is one avenue that we can pursue to increase the resource base likely to grab people from off the larger interwebs through searches. Some other thoughts come to mind as well but am still exploring the possibilities.

 

 

Possibly increasing the scope of the forums purview might be one way. At the moment I am seeing some threads in Game design which would be better sited in here but get left over there partially because the audience is larger and partially because the line upon which they sit wanders between game design and writing for example

 

Would people enjoy a hardcore story-based strategy game?

Edited by Stormynature

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As you also mentioned Game Design, I thought I'd just briefly note that your journal posts on designing a pet game by writing a design document would be a great candidate for conversion to an article or series, as would anything similar. smile.png

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