Writing for Games : Theory and Practice book cover
1st Edition

Writing for Games
Theory and Practice





ISBN 9781032023052
Published May 24, 2022 by CRC Press
300 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations

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USD $54.95

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Book Description

Focussing on the independent videogames sector, this book provides readers with a vocabulary to articulate and build their games writing practice; whether studying games or coming to games from another storytelling discipline. Writing for Games offers resources for communication, collaboration, reflection, and advocacy, inviting the reader to situate their practice in a centuries-long heritage of storytelling, as well as considering the material affordances of videogames, and the practical realities of working in game development processes.

Structured into three parts, Theory considers the craft of both games and writing from a theoretical perspective, covering vocabulary for both game and story practices. Case Studies uses three case studies to explore the theory explored in Part 1. The Practical Workbook offers a series of provocations, tools and exercises that give the reader the means to refine and develop their writing, not just for now, but as a part of a life-long practice.

Writing for Games: Theory and Practice is an approachable and entry-level text for anyone interested in the craft of writing for videogames.

Hannah Nicklin is an award-winning narrative and game designer, writer, and academic who has been practising for nearly 15 years. She works hard to create playful experiences that see people and make people feel seen, and also argues for making games a more radical space through mentoring, advocacy, and redefining process. Trained as a playwright, Nicklin moved into interactive practices early on in her career and is now the CEO and studio lead at Danish indie studio Die Gute Fabrik, which most recently launched Mutazione in 2019.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Who Am I, Anyway?

Who is This Book Aimed At?

Theory, Practice, and Implementation

Focusing on Indie Productions

Why Not Write About Writing for AAA?

Focusing on Writing

Games Are Not Special

Therefore, the Intention of the Book

How to Read My Perspective

PART 1: Theory

Chapter 1: Craft

Chapter 2: Vocabulary – Games

Chapter 3: Vocabulary – Story Structure

Chapter 4: Vocabulary – Story Components

Chapter 5: Games Writing as a Discipline

Chapter 6: Form-led Design

Chapter 7: A Note on Writing Comedy

Chapter 8: Further Reading

Chapter 9: A Note on Ethics

PART 2: Case Studies

Chapter 10: Introduction to the Case Studies

Chapter 11: Character and Dialogue in Life is Strange 2

Chapter 12: Ethics and Adaptation in 80 Days

Chapter 13: Format and the Heist in Last Stop

PART 3: A Practical Workbook

Chapter 14: Introduction to the Workbook

Chapter 15: Tools for Starting

Seeds

Form-Driven Design

Character Sheets

Other Character-Creation Techniques

World Sheets

Place Design Sheets

Applied Use of Sheets – Story-Driven Puzzle Design

Puzzle Design Form

Brief-Setting

Chapter 16: Tools for Developing

Critical Response Theory

A Note on Playtesting

Prototyping

Developing Character – Dialogue

A Two-Day Dialogue Workshop

Developing Story – Structure

Learning to Edit

Diagnosing What’s Wrong

Advocacy, Diversity and Representation

Chapter 17: Tools for Collaboration: Design Documentation

What Happens When You Don’t Get What You Need?

Writing is Cheap

Developing Your Practice

Tools for Finishing

After Content Lock

Quality Assurance

Loc and VO

Cert, Marketing and PR

Reviews

Reflecting

Portfolio

Practice

Conclusion
Select Glossary of Game Terms

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Author(s)

Biography

Hannah Nicklin is an award-winning narrative and game designer, writer, and academic who has been practicing for nearly 15 years. She works hard to create playful experiences that see people, and make people feel seen, and also argues for making games a more radical space through mentoring, advocacy, and redefining process. Trained as a playwright, Hannah moved into interactive practices early on in her career and is now the CEO and Studio Lead at Danish indie studio Die Gute Fabrik, who most recently launched Mutazione in 2019. She has a PhD in games-influenced theatre and theatre-influenced games as anti-capitalist practice and spends her spare time racing bikes (the pedal kind). @hannahnicklin gutefabrik.com

Reviews

"Hannah Nicklin's Writing for Games is an essential manual for anyone working on games, whether they are story-driven or not. It is a comprehensive overview of the process of writing for games, and what it actually means in context, how it is integrated in the process of production, and how it relates to writing for other media. As an interdisciplinary text, it is the perfect bridge for writers from other media into games; at the same time, it also helps game designers and developers understand how writing connects games to other disciplines and guides the reader to how to draw inspiration from them. Even if the reader does not intend to be a writer, Writing for Games is a very accessible text to understand the work of writers and narrative designers, providing detailed strategies to incorporate games and stories successfully. The advice and lessons all come from practice and first-hand knowledge, which ensures that the learnings are relevant to day-to-day practices of game development. All told with a very personable and approachable tone - a joy to read."

Clara Fernandez-Vara, Associate Arts Professor, New York University.