This book, written and edited by members of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) Game Writing Special Interest Group, follows the acclaimed Professional Techniques for Video Game Writing to deliver practical advice from seasoned veterans on the special challenges of writing for first-person shooter games (FPS), role-playing games (RPG), and everything in between, including massively multiplayer online games, real-time strategy games, sports games, horror games, serious games, casual games, handheld games, and more. Game writing samples are included with the book, and more are available online.
Table of Contents
Writing for Massively Multiplayer Online Games
Steve Danuser and Tracy A. Seamster
The Play’s the Thing
Story and Play in Harmony
Unique Challenges of MMO Writing
Telling Stories: More than Words
Pitfalls: When the Story Doesn’t Get Through
Planning is the Key to Consistency
Got All That? Now Go Forth and Write!
Writing for Role-Playing Games
The RPG Challenge: Writing without a Protagonist
Understanding Interactive Storytelling
Making Choices and Making them Matter
Keeping Players in the Moment
Reinforcing a Player’s Personal Fiction
Writing for Adventure Games
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose
Writer as Designer
Story and Structure
Writing for Action-Adventure Games
Introduction: "Hey, You Put Some Adventure in My Action!"
Story and Action, Not the Best of Friends
Writing for Licensed Games
Writing for Platform Games
Andrew S. Walsh
Jump, Die, Repeat
Learning to Run: Story and Game Objectives
Holes in the Ground: The Pitfalls of Platformers
Writing Techniques and Technology
Character Creation for Platformers
Linear Gameplay Equals Linear Narrative
Writing for First-Person Shooters
Lucien Soulban and Haris Orkin
Introduction: FPS and the Nature of the Beast
A Primer on First-Person Narrative
A Very Short History of the FPS
Proven Methods for Telling FPS Stories: A Quick Primer
Early Classics and How They Told Their Stories
Modern Classics and How They Tell Their Stories
Linear versus Modular Storytelling
A Guiding Hand: Staying Inside Your Head
First-Person Characters: Identity Crisis Central
Writing for the Multiplayer FPS
The Future of First-Person Shooters
Writing for Real-Time Strategy Games
RTS Narrative Structure
The Primary Storyline: Single-Player Campaigns
System Responses: Non-linear Interactive Dialogue
Putting It All Together
Writing for Sports Games
"He Shoots. . . He Scores!"
Sports Games and Sports Management Games
A Whole New Ball Game
2K Case Study: Don King Presents Prizefighter
"The Ref’s Going to Blow Up!"
Writing for Simulator Games
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles...
Know Your Audience: Who Plays Simulator Games and Why?
Story? What Story?
Writing for Driving Games
"I’m a Game with Cars in It. What Kind of Game Am I?"
"Delivery for You! Where’d You Want It?"
The Sports Cars
The Other Cars on the Road
The Right Kinds of Cars for the Right Kinds of Roads
Writing for Horror Games
Defining a Horror Game
Limitations and Conventions
Defining What Needs to Be Written
Mood, Tone, and Atmosphere
Plot and Payoff
Writing for Science-Fiction and Fantasy Games
Fireball Spells and Ray Guns, What’s the Difference?
What Makes Sci-Fi and Fantasy Different
The Pivotal Role of Star Wars in This History
Writing for Sandbox Games
Defining the Genre
Examples of Sandbox Games
Structuring a Narrative in a Sandbox Game
Increasing the Complexity of Your Sandbox Story
Writing for Alternate Reality Games
What’s an Alternate Reality Game?
This Is Not a Game
Evolving Narrative Over Time
Writing Live—Working without a Net
If the Writer Ain’t Having Fun, Ain’t Nobody Having Fun
Writing for Serious Games
Sande Chen and Anne Toole
Introduction to Serious Games
Serious Games Challenges
Case Study: Physics Adventures in Space-Time (PAST)
Writing for Casual Games
Who Is a Casual Game Writer?
But Tetris Didn’t Need a Story!
Write as Little as You Can—Then Halve It
Concise Copy and Instructions
Writing for Handheld Games
Player Interaction with a Handheld Game
Additional Considerations: Cartridge-Based Games
What to Do?
Writing for Mobile Phone Games
Types of Writing
Writing for Interactive Fiction
J. Robinson Wheeler
What is IF?
A Writer’s Medium
The World Model and the Library
Using the Medium
Player Characters as Storytelling Springboards
Notable IF Games
Go for It
The IF Community and Its Resources
Step 3: Profit?
Blood Wake Samples
Star Wars: X-Wing Alliance Cutscene Scripts
Big-Picture Plan for Proposed Game Starfall
Casual Game Wireframe
Featured Author Profiles
" Writer's SIG has assembled an impressive group of experts who deliver spot-on advice for tackling gaming's many genres. I wish I had read this 20 years ago."" -Bob Bates, Bob Bates, Veteran game designer, writer, and past Chairman of the IGDA, February 2009
must-have for the bookshelf of any game writer, no matter what genre they're working in. It was equally fascinating and useful for me to read the chapters about genres I'm experienced in and the chapters about genres I've never worked in."" -Steve Meretzky, Steve Meretzky, VP of Game Design, You, February 2009
those of us swimming in the murky waters of games storytelling and narrative design, Writing for Video Game Genres: From FPS to RPG is not only a life raft, it's one with a treasure trove on top. Seldom do we erstwhile swimmers get this lucky. Read, learn, and build the rafts of the future."" -Rhianna Pratchett, Rhianna Pratchett, Writer and co-narrative designer on Heavenly Sword, Mirror's Edge, and Overlord, February 2009"