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jamesmh

Game writing tools and techniques

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Hey everyone, my first post because I’m curious about the tools that other game developers and writers use to make their stories.

I currently work as a writer in an Australian game studio. I have a background in writing and developing stories for Films and TV but I’ve found the switch to game writing to be challenging and increasingly time consuming. We have been experimenting with different techniques for writing outside the writer’s room pen and paper stuff, particularly different ways of visualising or modelling stories, potential character arcs etc. I was wondering if anyone has used any software or tools they recommend?

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Posted (edited)

There are various programs like this: https://www.nevigo.com/en/ that connect writing with other parts of game design more closely than a word processor. It depends on your workflow if they are effective or not. (they haven't worked for me, yet)

Edited by GrumpySam

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The more you get tied up with software planning tools, the more your company will shift from agile teamwork to slow bureaucracy. It can be good for working remotely, but makes less sense if your coworkers are right there.

If you have a big empty wall in the office, pen, tape and paper works best for group planning, no matter what it's for.
* See much more than your screens can display.
* Talk directly to the people making changes for more efficient teamwork.
* Improved emotional connection with coworkers by seeing their faces. This reduces stress and grudges.
* Have no technical limitations, passwords, bugs, ransom-ware nor crashes.
* No price hikes based on what the tool maker thinks you're earning (usually far off).
* Backups can easily be done using a camera.

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1 hour ago, Dawoodoz said:

The more you get tied up with software planning tools, the more your company will shift from agile teamwork to slow bureaucracy.

The original post is about game writing - not project planning.

 

On 6/20/2019 at 2:21 AM, jamesmh said:

Hey everyone, my first post because I’m curious about the tools that other game developers and writers use to make their stories.

Hey James, I'm not a writer and we don't work with any at my current job, but I like the tool Aeon Timeline. I actually use it for project planning but it's designed for writers and allows you to capture a lot of information not only about the order of events but the characters involved. Nevigo (above) looks like it is more closely aligned to game development, but Aeon Timeline is another interesting option.

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1 minute ago, Kylotan said:

The original post is about game writing - not project planning.

The rules of group psychology doesn't vanish because the task at hand changes slightly. Tools for game writing are just the same old writing tools that book authors had for ages with fancier graphics and support for multiple users. A mix of planning software (Trello, Jira) and book writing software (Scriverner). You add some character cards, story arcs, example prose, locations et cetera and the database will keep track of it. Nothing new at its core.

Want to jump on the latest writing tool and see if it's good for your company? Go ahead, but know all your options and the research that has already been done about them.

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We're not talking about group psychology. We're talking about how a writer gets their job done. They deserve tools that help them the same way that programmers have powerful tools (IDEs, debuggers, source control), artists have powerful tools (3D modellers, 2D image editors, etc), and designers have powerful tools (level editors, visual programming). Scrivener is a reasonable suggestion but it should be obvious that games are a slightly different medium and it should be possible to have some tools that are more closely suited to the work.

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From a non-writer perspective, I use mind mapping software, like FreeMind (http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Download) to plan out everything "idea-wise".

I've also used Interactive Fiction (IF) tools to create a branching story narrative. There are lots out there, but maybe there are ones that allow multiple users to edit the same file (if you require that sort of feature). Maybe your co-workers might suggest an IF engine over another because they can get at the content you've created directly. The nice thing about most IF tools is that they allow you to traverse a story and jump around, jump back, make a different choice, etc. automatically without any extra programming. I kind of like Twine (https://twinery.org/) , but I like coding a bit so maybe there are easier ones that just do drag and drop. Anyway, just tossing some more ideas your way.

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