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Kandolo

Writing a Good Treatment

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Thought I''d share this for those who haven''t had the benefit of good classes. Treatments are very useful for promoting a game storyline. A Treatment is a statement of action and perception. Treatments never go into specifics nor take into consideration technique. Treatments also should not include what characters are thinking and feeling. Treatments focus on action and perception. A good treatment includes: 1. What the "audience" sees 2. What the "audience" hears 3. What happens 4. Plenty of descriptive words and transtitionary words Rules for Treatments: 1. Use PRESENT TENSE 2. Don''t quote exact dialoge Ex. The dog calls for spike = Good! The dog calls, "Spike!" = Bad. 3. Never use phrase like, "We see". And MOST IMPORTANTLY: Mean what you Say, Say what you Mean!! Be concise and simple, but still use descriptive words. A descriptive word holds more weight than filler words... "And he then decides to begin a walk around the park where he goes every once in a while" is easily reworked "He walks, as he does often, to the park". Add some descriptive words and you can even get some more vivid meanings... "He blissfully strolls, as he does quite regularly, to the sunny park." or "He begrudginly steps up, as he unfortunately does often, to the old trashy park". Way too often, writers use undescriptive words to "write well" when all you get is a lot of words, not meaning. This is just a general overview. If anyone is interested, I could go into depth and write an article for Game Dev. Here''s a snippet of a good Treatment... (Not necessarily a good plotline) ----------- Kamil awakes once again by a new voice. A shimmering light fills the room and a soft pale-skinned lady appears. She tells him she is the light spirit of magic and that the dark spirit of magic used him to unleash magic. She then commands him to go to the library in Depuissant and to hurry. She answers none of Kamil’s questions. Having lived a completely uneventful life, Kamil does not hesitate to follow the spirits instructions. He packs his bags and leaves his house. At the city gates, his friend, Petek, meets him. She asks him where he is going. He explains everything to her. She does not believe him, but decides to tag along to make sure Kamil is safe.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:

Treatments are very useful for promoting a game storyline.



Could you explain this a bit more? I can see what the process is doing, but I don''t quite understand when it would be helpful, or what the benefit is.

Also, why use present tense?

JSwing

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Treatments are actually used more for movie production scripts... Present tense is used because YOU aren''t telling the story, the movie/the game does. You are describing what happens... How it happens and is put together is the job of the director. Past tense is used for actually telling a story in its entirety. Why past tense doesn''t work is a lil beyond me, this is just industry standard Same reason why you don''t use first person tense when writing a research paper.

Promoting a storyline in treatment form makes your story more versatile. A treatment can be used for an FPS as easily as it could be an isometric tile game. You say what happens, not how it happens or how it is felt... It strips a story to its barebone component and a producer can see the script for what it is. A very good writer can make a very bad story sound very good. But when you take what the good writer wrote and put it in a different medium, it won''t look as good.

In all honesty, I''m not absolutely sure why treatments are used and why they are that way, but what I just said were my best guesses

But, generally, treatments are used to pitch ideas.

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I''ve never heard the term ''treatment'' before in this context, even when I studied English. So maybe it''s called something else here. But I''ll use the term anyway.

Let me give you my perspective, as a writer and a programmer. It builds on what you said, but adds a little extra.

In programming, a lot of people use the UML (Unified Modelling Language) which is basically a set of diagram notations that are useful for modelling systems. These diagrams show the system at a fairly abstract level, allowing you to plan the system out quite effectively before you ever start coding. In fact, organising the system using UML or some other sort of abstracted language or notation means that you can use any kind of programming language you like to implement the system. And you can split the separate parts up and delegate to other programmers, providing they have the diagrams to work from. And after you''ve implemented the system, the UML diagrams serve as high level documentation, so that you can quickly see which parts of the system handle which responsibilities.

I see a parallel here. The treatment describes the general events, and how they shape the environment and characters. But the detail is left until later. This makes it easy for the writer, perhaps working with a designer, to shape and re-shape a story accordingly without wasting time on details that are not needed yet (and may never be needed, if part of the story is cut). It also avoids fixing the story in any particular format: a good treatment could be implemented as prose, verse, dialog, a screenplay, or maybe something else. You can split the treatment up and allocate parts of it to different writers if necessary, while being reasonably sure that, if they stick to the treatment, the parts will fit together with minimal adjustment. And once the plot is implemented, the treatment remains as a good high-level indication of the events that take place.

So I think it would be a very useful tool in writing for games.

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I''ve used this ''treatment'' style in my design doc and I find it very useful. It allows you to cover a lot of material without getting bogged down in specific ''dialogue'', and people can quickly get an idea of what you''re getting at.

Good idea...

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Well, I submitted a much more formal version as an article for game dev. Hopefully we''ll see it up some day *crosses fingers*

I''m actually currently studying character archtypes and various storystructures. Maybe you''ll be hearing from me soon

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Hope your article goes through. I would like to see more articles on something other then programming. Programming is great and absolutely necesary. It''s just that I feel there a lack of good articles on the steps surrounding that (art, writing, design, music).

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I got a reply, they said they would definitely post it. Said it would take 6-8 weeks though. Oh well

But definitely, I''ll have to write a few other ones

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