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ElvenNeko

The story of my long journey on the path to become a game writer. What ending will i have? I need your advice on that.

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Posted (edited)

Or maybe "I have read his concepts and i think that one of them is exacly what you could use in your next game, and since i liked them a lot - i can vouch for it's quality as a professional, but you don't even have to trust me - check it your for yourself and make a desision, it will only take 10 extra minutes of your time, and since you are a professional too - you will be able to see it's potential".

Edited by ElvenNeko

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26 minutes ago, ElvenNeko said:

Or maybe "I have read his concepts and i think that one of them is exacly what you could use in your next game, and since i liked them a lot - i can vouch for it's quality as a professional, but you don't even have to trust me - check it your for yourself and make a desision, it will only take 10 extra minutes of your time, and since you are a professional too - you will be able to see it's potential".

I don't think you are being realistic.  It's not in anyone's interest to do that. Nobody but a close friend of said Mogul would even dare try it. Do you even have any stories in proper English? My experience with Russian and English is that you need a really good translator for a story to sound good after being translated. I've read Pushkin in a published Engish book and I've even found errors there and I'm not even a language expert.

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6 hours ago, ElvenNeko said:

I already said a several times why i chose video games: it is because they allow much more instruments of storytelling than books or movies. Making a book with choices is not what i need either, majority of the stuff that makes my stories so good in form of a video game won't work in the text game, it won't have such a powerful effect on the player. How to give you an example... you probably played "What remains of Edith Finch", right? Now try to imagine game's plot in the form of text book. Will it be just as good? Will it even be half as good? 

I never played Edith Finch, but I understand what you're getting at... and I still disagree.

It's unfortunate that you can't see the potential of IF to create living, breathing worlds. How many times have you heard that the movie wasn't as good as the book? I'm not saying that IF should be your end goal, but you have to pick an attainable route to realize your ultimate goal of writing/directing a complex video game.

To each his own, I suppose. Good luck, man.

 

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It's unfortunate that you can't see the potential of IF to create living, breathing worlds.

I can, because i played a lot of text games and visual novels. It's just not MY way of creating. Let's say you ask a Stephen King to write a children's tale, or you ask a Steven Spielberg to direct a theatre play. Just because first one writes books and second works with actors does not matter that they will be equally good in in everything that involves any of said things. Biologist can't do the work of chemist despite both being scientists, bus driver can't race a formula 1 despite both being drivers.

I simply can't pick a road that's not suited for my skills, i won't do anything good there.

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How many times have you heard that the movie wasn't as good as the book?

I am not just heard, i said that. And the problem is that for tv adaptation instead of hiring a good writer (maybe even writer of original) to write the script, they hire someone who have no idea what exacly is he doing. And it does not matter how much money are put into movie, even in most expencive tv shows like GOT you can find an incredibly dumb and boring writing. And it's not because original was bad, but because studio leads didn't cared enough to find a good writer.

Same goes for games, but even worse - most developers don't even concider a story being an important part of the game, so they add it later to simply somehow justify the gameplay, or team leaders are just inverstors without much expirience in gaming industry, so they can't see that the story their team cape up with is just bad. Some companies like Bethesda have their writing quality degrade with each new game they release, despite overall budgets of the games only raising. I think this is the primary reason why most of the game stories are completly average at best, and that's why every story in gaming that's at least decent is a huge celebration for me. And i would really want to improve this situation.

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3 hours ago, ElvenNeko said:
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It's unfortunate that you can't see the potential of IF to create living, breathing worlds.

I can, because i played a lot of text games and visual novels. It's just not MY way of creating.

Yes, but you say you can't create a game by yourself. Pitching it to publishers (your original plan) is unlikely to work, so that means indie, hobby. Try pitching your game's story in the Hobby Project Classifieds. Good luck.

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Posted (edited)

I too, find myself worrying about these things.

It's tough, but there are solutions. If you look at how companies operate (for instance Hollywood) they sometimes find books to turn into movies. 

You are a good writer. You might want to develop the game, into a book 1st. But even then if you want to get published it may cost some money. But, you could get lucky and the right person finds it. It's not impossible to sell the digital book on Amazon at a low cost. 

The struggle is real. But it's a struggle that can be danced with. 
Idk what I'm saying... I guess I'm trying to say 'I know!!! Good luck, I'm sailing not too far behind!' 

Edited by Tobop

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On 7/5/2019 at 8:51 PM, ElvenNeko said:

There is a lot of people out there, all with different personalities. I don't believe that even half of them are that much smug to have a star syndrom of "i won't even speak to a non-famous commoner", especially if they are the indie developers without super-huge name yet. Just like you and me, when they need to kill some time they watch image boards, browse forums, etc, and i don't see why they can't as well spent 10-20 minutes on reading the concept. I would say even more - since games with really amazing stories are such a rare thing that sometimes there goes a whole year without single one of them, a true story gourmet will be more interested in spending those 20 minutes on read a possibly promising script instead of browsing 9gag, for example.

This is an unrealistic view. The problem is not that the execs are too "smug" or that they don't have any free time. The problem is:

  • they already have many ideas of their own that they are more emotionally invested in;
  • they already have employees with many ideas of their own that the company is more emotionally invested in;
  • they already know writers of a similar quality level to you, but who have industry experience, thus making their stories more practical;
  • they already know of stories that, even if of lower quality, would sell more games due to brand recognition;
  • game stories take a back seat to technical and gameplay issues because those are the most expensive and risky aspects;
  • games are not written based on a "script" but typically on a design document and a business plan.

All these factors mean that your story is not ever likely to be made by someone else. It's not about you just getting it into the hands of the right people. The games industry doesn't work this way.

On 7/6/2019 at 7:07 PM, ElvenNeko said:

Same goes for games, but even worse - most developers don't even concider a story being an important part of the game, so they add it later to simply somehow justify the gameplay, or team leaders are just inverstors without much expirience in gaming industry, so they can't see that the story their team cape up with is just bad.

This is just not true, and is a reminder that you don't understand the industry because you're not in it. Team leaders are almost never "just investors" - even investors are sensible enough to pay for experts, because they're in the business of protecting and building on their investment, not squandering it.

Developers often love stories, and want to tell better ones. But they are constrained by financial and technical means. If something in a story can't be rendered on-screen on the hardware they are developing for, or requires artificial intelligence that is beyond the CPU budget, or requires so much environment and character art that it would cost too much to make, it can't be done. Speak to any writer in games and they'll tell you about the content that had to be cut or the compromises they had to make to get the game out of the door.

Worse, a lot of game players just click straight through all the dialogue and skip all the cut scenes - it's fine to say "we're not developing for those people" but when you cut your audience you cut your budget - which puts even tighter constraints on what you can actually make.

You need to understand that your reluctance to do any programming to bring your story to life is a kind of microcosm of the whole issue here - making games is hard and risky, which is why the people making games are all somewhere on a continuum between "I make this game because I am paid good money to do so" and "I make this game because it's my personal passion project". There isn't room to be making other people's passion projects unless that other person is paying good money.

You have a few realistic choices, but sadly I don't think either of them are what you're hoping for:

  • consider whether you can find the right tool to produce the minimum viable version of your story. It won't look the way you had envisioned, but it will exist. If it gets popular, maybe one day you can commission a remake?
  • produce a portfolio of work that lets you get into the industry, work as a writer, and one day have enough influence in the studio to get your game made. Warning: this is probably a 10-year plan at best, and not guaranteed to end in success even if you do find good employment.
  • create a high quality mod of an existing game to try and convey part of your story as a way to get interest to develop the rest. You'll have access to high quality assets and tools - but you'll probably have to get your hands dirty on the implementation side, perhaps with visual scripting of some sort.
  • gather hobbyists to attempt to create your game on a low budget - but as you've seen, this is unlikely to deliver the results you want in the sort of timescale you've got, especially if all you're offering is writing. The vast majority of such projects fail without financial incentives to keep people on track.

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2 hours ago, Tobop said:

If you look at how companies operate (for instance Hollywood) they sometimes find books to turn into movies. 

Hollywood is structured in a very different way to game development. It's virtually impossible to direct a feature film that does not have a story of some sort, so obtaining that story is an essential part of the process - even if it eventually gets dissected into a screenplay and then a shooting script which barely resembles the original. But even so, simply being a good story is not enough - there are thousands of good stories not yet made into movies. The story needs to lend itself to film and have commercial viability.

Game development is very different. Games without stories are not only possible but wildly popular, so a game development studio is not dependent on this. The subset of studios that are working on story-driven games usually like to own their own intellectual property, because the studio is long-lived (unlike Hollywood where each film is often made by a different financial entity) and the writers might be full time employees or experienced contractors brought in to write a story based around the characters and setting that the studio owns. In that context it's very hard for an outsider with no significant publishing or development history to get any traction in game development.

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Well yes, that's true. 

"then a shooting script which barely resembles the original." 
 

So basically we're on our own, which has it's advantages and disadvantages. We have a certain amount of freedom. If something you make is great, then advertise it. See how it goes.  

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Posted (edited)
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they already have many ideas of their own that they are more emotionally invested in; 

they already have employees with many ideas of their own that the company is more emotionally invested in;

So, a movie director never hires a writer to make a script, because he or maybe the camera man, costumer or someone else already have enough ideas, right? And all of them equally talanted for writing that exacly fits for what movie requires.

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they already know writers of a similar quality level to you, but who have industry experience

They wasn't born with this expirience, however. Avellone, for example, only had a d&d module writing expirience when he was hired in game dev. He also get to write big games like Fallout already  year after his assignment.

I already have a complete game.

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they already know of stories that, even if of lower quality, would sell more games due to brand recognition;

Yes, there is a lot of people who don't want to invest anything in their work, so they rely on brand name, making sequels, prequels and spin-offs with hope that people buy it because they love the brand, or they make copies of a popular games in hope that people who like those games will like their copy as well. But they aren't the majority, and i certainly not seeing myself working among people who are searching a way to cheat some money instead of making the quality product.

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Team leaders are almost never "just investors"

I read articles about those who don't even play the games. It's just a buisness for them.

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even investors are sensible enough to pay for experts

If those experts was always correct, they would not be such a huge amount of complete failures among aaa-developers in the last several years. But it seems like the most the can do - is to give "valuable" advices on how to make a "politically correct" games, that lead to things like Andromeda, BFV, latest Fallouts and other stuff like that. Or maybe they give a buisness advice that lead to scandals like with Battlefront 2 or MK11?

Are we talking about same "excperts" that said "sci-fi games can't be popular" regarding cyberpunk 2077? You know how they came to this conclusion? They looked at the latest games in genre, and checked their sales, disregarding both quality of the games and how big they were. And someone actually paying people for THIS?

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But they are constrained by financial and technical means. If something in a story can't be rendered on-screen on the hardware they are developing for, or requires artificial intelligence that is beyond the CPU budget, or requires so much environment and character art that it would cost too much to make, it can't be done.

That's why every good writer must be able to cut and apart their stories for various unexpected changes, and i can do this as well. However, many of the things you describe should be calculated before game development even started. You don't just start to complain if your elevator falls due to being overloaded midway up,  you check the maximul allowed weight when you entering it, right?

I have exacly one game that will require high bugtet, and only several games that will require modern graphics (standard Unreal kit will do), the rest can be done with almost any budget and technology limitations.

Damn, i cut around 40% of content from my own game because we could not implement it. But i still managed to get the story to work properly, disregarding of the cuts.

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Worse, a lot of game players just click straight through all the dialogue and skip all the cut scenes

Your name isn't Todd Howard by any chance? I just remembered how he justified a terrible FO4 dialogue system with just the same excuse, only to tell later that "it was a mistake".

Let's say you buy the game called "Journey" and then complain that you get to do nothing but walk. WIll it be dumb? Or you buy Detroit - Become Human, and then click trough all the dialogues and complain that the game is boring because there is almost nothing but dialogues you skipped. Will it be developer's fault or the user who were not smart enough to read what is the game about before buying it? Each game has it's own audience, aiming to please everyone in the world will result only in your game being bad..

Also, except dialogues there is a lot of ways to tell the story - background banter, narrator's voice, environmental storytelling, notes and journals, cutscenes, should i name all of them or it's enough? Actually, most of the games that using a dialogues you have to click trough are rpg's and those without voice acting.

Edited by ElvenNeko

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