Matthew Birdzell

Anyone around here wanting to be a game writer or some creative designer?

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I've posted in the writing forum a few times, as my goal is to be a writer in games. Maybe books too. Actually both would be fun. But I'd also like to try other creative design, like making dialogue for cutscenes and helping direct those. However I might need some sort of film degree, which I don't have and not studying for right now. :(  I'd also like to try developing mechanics and levels. I'd think that would be working hand in hand as a writer, depending on the project. FAr out ideas would be voice acting. I also have no experience there. But you can learn on the spot! Look at what Melina Juergens did as Senua in Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice. No acting experience. Gave a phenomenal performance.

So any other writers here? What sort of work do you want to do in games?

Edited by Matthew Birdzell

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10 hours ago, Matthew Birdzell said:

I've posted in the writing forum a few times

 

10 hours ago, Matthew Birdzell said:

So any other writers here? What sort of work do you want to do in games?

If you want writers to read your post, this needs to be in the Writing forum. Moving it there.

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2 hours ago, Tom Sloper said:

 

If you want writers to read your post, this needs to be in the Writing forum. Moving it there.

I posted it here hoping it would reach out to more people than writers, like I asked in my question. Then again, perhaps you're right.

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I co-operate an indie game studio, and my number one goal is for the studio to get big enough for me to just be a video game writer. Not to say that I don't like programming, artwork, etc. but I really enjoy all of video game writing. Even the small parts like naming places, weapons, and people are really enjoyable for me. I have tried to write books, I've thought about writing for movies, but in the end it is video game writing that makes me the happiest. Video game writing engages it's consumers in a way that books, movies, and tv never could. You are there, in the action, blowing up bridges, or rescuing damsels in distress. When you beat a game, you feel as if you personally went through a journey. YOU saved those people. YOU sacrificed yourself. YOU made those mistakes. Through video game storytelling you have the power to completely and dramatically change the consumer's views on life. It really is a powerful feeling, and one that I wouldn't give up for anything.

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10 hours ago, Novadude987 said:

I co-operate an indie game studio, and my number one goal is for the studio to get big enough for me to just be a video game writer. Not to say that I don't like programming, artwork, etc. but I really enjoy all of video game writing. Even the small parts like naming places, weapons, and people are really enjoyable for me. I have tried to write books, I've thought about writing for movies, but in the end it is video game writing that makes me the happiest. Video game writing engages it's consumers in a way that books, movies, and tv never could. You are there, in the action, blowing up bridges, or rescuing damsels in distress. When you beat a game, you feel as if you personally went through a journey. YOU saved those people. YOU sacrificed yourself. YOU made those mistakes. Through video game storytelling you have the power to completely and dramatically change the consumer's views on life. It really is a powerful feeling, and one that I wouldn't give up for anything.

I love it. Thats great!

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23 hours ago, Novadude987 said:

I co-operate an indie game studio, and my number one goal is for the studio to get big enough for me to just be a video game writer. Not to say that I don't like programming, artwork, etc. but I really enjoy all of video game writing. Even the small parts like naming places, weapons, and people are really enjoyable for me. I have tried to write books, I've thought about writing for movies, but in the end it is video game writing that makes me the happiest. Video game writing engages it's consumers in a way that books, movies, and tv never could. You are there, in the action, blowing up bridges, or rescuing damsels in distress. When you beat a game, you feel as if you personally went through a journey. YOU saved those people. YOU sacrificed yourself. YOU made those mistakes. Through video game storytelling you have the power to completely and dramatically change the consumer's views on life. It really is a powerful feeling, and one that I wouldn't give up for anything.

Is it possible you can write for movies, books and video games altogether depending on your creativity or ideas?

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10 minutes ago, Stryder1234 said:

Is it possible you can write for movies, books and video games altogether depending on your creativity or ideas?

I imagine it is all very possible. I think determination is key in this though as it takes a lot of effort, creativity, and patience to write a story, even more so if you are to write for 3 different types of media. I believe one of our moderators Tom Sloper, has produced and designed board games, video games, and even has a site. He also wrote a book on Mah-Jongg. All of this considered, I very well believe that with writing you can do as much or as little as your determination and creativity will allow you. :)

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29 minutes ago, Novadude987 said:

I imagine it is all very possible. I think determination is key in this though as it takes a lot of effort, creativity, and patience to write a story, even more so if you are to write for 3 different types of media. I believe one of our moderators Tom Sloper, has produced and designed board games, video games, and even has a site. He also wrote a book on Mah-Jongg. All of this considered, I very well believe that with writing you can do as much or as little as your determination and creativity will allow you. :)

I couldn't agree more. If it is all well put together nicely than I think there's lots of potential.

One of my story lines involves fictional creatures and other horror tropes fighting each other in a duel battle with other monsters in the mix. Some have critiqued my ideas with negativity that it sounds kind of dumb like example, how a scarecrow or snowman creature would fit well being as fighters. But if it developed more originality I'm sure some will find it interesting.

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56 minutes ago, Stryder1234 said:

Some have critiqued my ideas with negativity that it sounds kind of dumb like example, how a scarecrow or snowman creature would fit well being as fighters.

I hope you're not talking about me. What I said was that you (I think that was you, in another thread) were unnecessarily worried about making them realistic, since they are inherently unrealistic. By all means, include fighting scarecrows and fighting snowmen in your design - but just don't worry about how to make them realistic.

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6 hours ago, Tom Sloper said:

I hope you're not talking about me. What I said was that you (I think that was you, in another thread) were unnecessarily worried about making them realistic, since they are inherently unrealistic. By all means, include fighting scarecrows and fighting snowmen in your design - but just don't worry about how to make them realistic.

No worries, I wasn't referring to you. I meant that I had mentioned my ideas elsewhere in the past about characters like a fighting scarecrow, snowman and I was told they were dumb and silly ideas. I'm not concerned about trying to make them realistic. I'm more concerned about making them appealing and unique so they are not generic designs.

What would be some good tips for making them unique and original?

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2 hours ago, Stryder1234 said:

What would be some good tips for making them unique and original?

If I am correct in assuming that you are an indie dev, I will say this: I find that the easiest way to make characters unique and original is to follow what YOU want. Much of the reason that indie is growing in popularity is that with indie, you are not confined to sales and pleasing as many people as possible. As an indie dev, you have the power to make your game your way. If you want a badass game with scarecrows kicking snowman ass then that is what you go for!

If you need examples, look to one of my favorite fighting games: Rag Doll Kung Fu. It is creative, fun, unique, original, and utterly hilarious. So bassically my take away from this is: to be unique and original, cater to what YOU think is cool, not what everybody thinks is cool. (i.e. Everybody thinks zombies are cool, but you think scarecrows and snowmen are cool)

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I've done some freelance writing in the past (mostly ghost writing.) I'm no Steven King or Jane Austen, but one thing I'll recommend as a "Golden Rule" is this: EVERY character should want SOMETHING. Doesn't have to be much. Can be as lame as a glass of water or as complex as finding a solution to their marital problems. But there should be a very tangible, understandable goal the character should want this story to end with. The game's industry largely fails with this one rule, and that's where you get very shallow "stand aside!" character's from who just bark a lot but don't have anything interesting to say. While there's also the problem of character's wanting one and only one thing (looking at you revenge characters like Kratos, Velvet, etc.) they are still a step above the cool brooding characters who just kind of walk around and stuff happens to. 

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On November 1, 2017 at 1:53 AM, Novadude987 said:

If I am correct in assuming that you are an indie dev, I will say this: I find that the easiest way to make characters unique and original is to follow what YOU want. Much of the reason that indie is growing in popularity is that with indie, you are not confined to sales and pleasing as many people as possible. As an indie dev, you have the power to make your game your way. If you want a badass game with scarecrows kicking snowman ass then that is what you go for!

If you need examples, look to one of my favorite fighting games: Rag Doll Kung Fu. It is creative, fun, unique, original, and utterly hilarious. So bassically my take away from this is: to be unique and original, cater to what YOU think is cool, not what everybody thinks is cool. (i.e. Everybody thinks zombies are cool, but you think scarecrows and snowmen are cool)

Well I did have them planned for my indie style game so yes you are right about freedom to create them how I want, however I also plan on adding them to my other game which is a more serious game. Even though it's still fictional, these characters will have a deeper backstory and that's why I want characters like the snowman and scarecrow to be more in depth and how they are capable of fighting. Think Mortal Kombat, though characters are unrealistic, they still have a logic on their existence and how they are able to fight.

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8 hours ago, Stryder1234 said:

Well I did have them planned for my indie style game so yes you are right about freedom to create them how I want, however I also plan on adding them to my other game which is a more serious game. Even though it's still fictional, these characters will have a deeper backstory and that's why I want characters like the snowman and scarecrow to be more in depth and how they are capable of fighting. Think Mortal Kombat, though characters are unrealistic, they still have a logic on their existence and how they are able to fight.

So you are looking for a snowman and scarecrow with grit? Should they be scary characters?

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11 hours ago, Novadude987 said:

So you are looking for a snowman and scarecrow with grit? Should they be scary characters?

Yes, i want them scary but also have some sort of deadly fighting training that makes sense story-wise so they are seen more than just a regular scarecrow, snowman, prisoner, clown, etc.

Edited by Stryder1234

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Well, scarecrows are used as decoys right? So perhaps your scarecrow character's attacks should be based on decoy and deception, such as teleportation behind your enemy. He might even attach his enemies to a post to render them defenseless, or spit straw at his enemy like a machine gun. I think this character would have a strong backstory as an ordinary scarecrow given life through dark arts. He could even be a dark twist on the Wizard of Oz.

Snowmen might obviously have ice-related attacks. One such attack might be freezing your opponent's head in a block of ice and punching them, thus shattering the ice. This might also work as a finisher, busting their head like shards of glass. He might also be a tactical fighter with strong deadly ice attacks using his own body. The attacks are powerful but every attack lowers his hp. I just wonder how you would go about animating the snowman? His back story may be similar to the scarecrow's, or he could be a "good guy" or "protector" if you will.

A Prisoner fighter might specialize in chain attacks, that can pin down your enemy and render them defenseless, or bring them closer to you (similar to Scorpion's "get over here" move). He might also have a small shank that he can stab an opponent with, doing small amounts of damage over time. 

Now the clown could get really dark really fast. He could have a finishing move where he ties his opponent's intestines into the shape of a poodle, or squirt acid out of a flower and smash their head in with a mallet. He could also pull a string of handkerchiefs out of his pocket and strangle his opponent with them. He might have a fighting style similar to a loose cannon, being unpredictable and able to absorb a lot of blows.

 

Edited by Novadude987

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2 hours ago, Novadude987 said:

Well, scarecrows are used as decoys right? So perhaps your scarecrow character's attacks should be based on decoy and deception, such as teleportation behind your enemy. He might even attach his enemies to a post to render them defenseless, or spit straw at his enemy like a machine gun. I think this character would have a strong backstory as an ordinary scarecrow given life through dark arts. He could even be a dark twist on the Wizard of Oz.

Snowmen might obviously have ice-related attacks. One such attack might be freezing your opponent's head in a block of ice and punching them, thus shattering the ice. This might also work as a finisher, busting their head like shards of glass. He might also be a tactical fighter with strong deadly ice attacks using his own body. The attacks are powerful but every attack lowers his hp. I just wonder how you would go about animating the snowman? His back story may be similar to the scarecrow's, or he could be a "good guy" or "protector" if you will.

A Prisoner fighter might specialize in chain attacks, that can pin down your enemy and render them defenseless, or bring them closer to you (similar to Scorpion's "get over here" move). He might also have a small shank that he can stab an opponent with, doing small amounts of damage over time. 

Now the clown could get really dark really fast. He could have a finishing move where he ties his opponent's intestines into the shape of a poodle, or squirt acid out of a flower and smash their head in with a mallet. He could also pull a string of handkerchiefs out of his pocket and strangle his opponent with them. He might have a fighting style similar to a loose cannon, being unpredictable and able to absorb a lot of blows.

 

Those all sound like potential. I really appreciate it. I would probably animate the snowman with a sort of shapeshift moveset depending if I want him rush downing or keep you at a distance. A lot of my characters will be over the top anyway but rich backstories do help. Maybe I can connect some of their stories to each other, like snowman and scarecrow, prisoner and clown maybe, etc. Doctor and nurse would most likely obviously have a good interacting background. 

Edited by Stryder1234

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I'm not much of a writer, but I like to think I've become a decent story teller over the years.  I would partially echo what CaptainBlueSkies said, but take it one step further.  Instead of just making sure a character wants something, I have found that the only way I could make characters (or story arcs, for that matter) work out well is to know the end story of the character or story arc before even beginning to work out what the story is.  The key, for me anyway, in being able to create what I think are cool characters and story arcs was knowing the details of the very end of the character or story arc before I start working it out.  So, for example, when you think up some type of "Jedi Knight" that you like and think has potential, the next step should be to work out, in fairly comprehensive detail, what the end of your "Jedi Knight's" story is.  Then you are starting with the bookends, the beginning that made you think it was cool and the end that you know you are working towards from there.  Until you have what you think is a really great ending for a character or story arc, you don't really have anything yet.

At least that was the thing that made a big difference for me in telling stories I like, with characters I like.

Edited by Kavik Kang

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11 hours ago, Stryder1234 said:

Those all sound like potential. I really appreciate it.

It's no problem. I like doing this kind of stuff! xD

11 hours ago, Stryder1234 said:

Doctor and nurse would most likely obviously have a good interacting background. 

I get a Sub-Zero/Frost vibe with this one. Kinda like Master/Apprentice or lovers. Perhaps they used to work at a hospital together, performing illegal and unethical experiments on patients. This medical background could serve as their fighting style too. As former medical staff, they can find places that cause severe pain and trauma, paralyzing their enemies or doing damage over time. They might also use sharp saws, needles, scalpels, etc. 

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3 hours ago, Novadude987 said:

It's no problem. I like doing this kind of stuff!

I get a Sub-Zero/Frost vibe with this one. Kinda like Master/Apprentice or lovers. Perhaps they used to work at a hospital together, performing illegal and unethical experiments on patients. This medical background could serve as their fighting style too. As former medical staff, they can find places that cause severe pain and trauma, paralyzing their enemies or doing damage over time. They might also use sharp saws, needles, scalpels, etc. 

You know what the funny thing is, that's what gave me the idea when I thought up nurse and doctor. Sub Zero and Frost dual was my inspiration for them! Same with the idea with prisoner with chains/shackles but I didn't think it would be scary enough at first. I thought of electricity but I rather save thst for someone else.

But what you just mentioned does sound pretty scary . The more scary and entertaining the better for fans to enjoy I say.

Edited by Stryder1234

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