1. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    Writing for Video Games

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Edward, Jul 22, 2009.

    That's it, I said it! I write for video games! Too long I've been ashamed to say it! My ultimate goal is not a book*, my goal is to design a game, and to have my story not only read but played out. I want to make Vindae into an RPG, I want to make a survival horror adventure game out of Ashcroft!

    I spend time not only thinking of how to make an interesting tale of adventure and wonder, I also think about mechanics, and interesting gimmicks! I think of a game where players are alchemists, making weapons based on the land, and collecting soil samples! Rocks make great axes! The hot desert sand grants the power of fire to a weapon! Leaves from the deep jungle can be used to create poisoned weapons, and in every area weapons can be randomized by transmuting the materials available!

    There! I said it!
    So, does anyone else plan to go into video games? I know it's a hard thing to get into, but I've put two years into it so there's no turning back. I know I've seen people with movie, play, and television scripts.

    Though one of those would be nice. And I do think Vindae as a setting is good for a game, but the story would be best as a novel.
     
  2. Ashleigh
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    Ashleigh Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would love to go into video games.

    I just have no idea how to. ;)
     
  3. GoldenQuil
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    GoldenQuil Member

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    lol sounds like you got a lot off your chest. for some time I thought about being a game designer, however now I have resolved on author. So, i feel your pain.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Unlike a traditional piece of writing, video game storylines have to be able to develop nonlinearly - it must be capable of standing as a story even if scenes are encountered out of order or even with scenes missing (unless the game is overly constrained, making it somewhat boring as a game).

    It's a very different kind of writing than we do here.
     
  5. A2theDre
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    A2theDre Active Member

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    Yeah, it is a secret fantasy of mine to be one to come up with the game plots etc. However, I think we'd need an extra skillset to help with the development of the game other than just our storytelling prowess to get a job writing for a designer.

    So I've all but given up now anyway. Not to mention, games these days are slowly veering away from being story driven. It's a sad loss, unfortunately.
     
  6. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    It also means that I get to use all--or at least more--of my ideas.
     
  7. Shadow Dragon
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    Shadow Dragon Contributing Member Contributor

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    That sounds awesome. I'm primarily writing for novels and short stories, but I would love the chance to write for a game at some point. Some of the story lines writen for games are mind blowingly good.
     
  8. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Yeah, I'd love to write for video games. Not because I prefer the medium to novels or anything, but because there are so many occurences where I'm playing a game and know that I could do better (which I've never really felt with a novel/poem/film/play that I've experienced. But like others, I don't know where to begin. I heard that if you want to get into writing for video games, you should start by writing for video game magazines, reviews and stuff, although in the past few years I think there's been a shift towards actually using writers, not reviewers who can code and design well and also sorta write. Although developers seem to favour using Hollywood writers, which is understandable, but maybe misguided - they often miss many of the things that games allow that films don't (just like a novelist may not make a good writer of a graphic novel due to the many subtle, implicit technicalities that an experienced writer of graphic novels would understand and exploit).
    We should make a video game writing collective and get our work known that way :D.
     
  9. FairyTales&Whiskey
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    FairyTales&Whiskey New Member

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    Hah, the very reason I started writing was because of video games. I wanted there to be more to the stories behind some of the characters, so I created my own and now just write immensely bloody fiction novels thanks to games like Call of Duty, Mortal Kombat, and Fallout. :D
     
  10. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    Actually, this reminds me of another thing that I feel guilty about with all the literary types here.
    I get inspiration from anime as well. Heck, I barely like anime these days and I do it. Stuff like Mistborn and the Dresden Files, you can just tell that Brandon Sanderson and Jim Butcher watched quite a bit of anime, or at least wire fu movies. I can never find a way of saying it that doesn't come across as "old is bad, new is good", but in everything these days we've got more and more technical at things. And watching movies--and anime--and being able to describe the surreal and detailed things that we're capable of these days, it's a great asset to a writer. I mean, after all, "write what you see" becomes easier with a big screen of award winning CG, and in the case of movies like Hellboy and Narnia, brilliant prosthetics.


    Which, by the way, I realize that I'm a 3D animator, and I'm going into game design, and I'm a child of the 90s who should hate anything not technology, but man, I love prosthetics.
     
  11. Seppuku
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    Seppuku Member

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    I design and create my own independent video games as a hobby, though it's only just that. I've not completed any of my projects yet. I asked the exact same question, not to writers but to people who work in the industry. One person who works for EA told me that he has never seen a writer used for the project he's worked on, and that game companies from his understanding don't really hire writers. This means writing for the games industry is a difficult market to get into. I know that Tri-Ace and Blizzard employ writers and Valve employed a writer for Portal, but a lot of the jobs are left to the game designers, who I am sure don't only 'write'. But if the games industry isn't 'big' on writers, you might find the competition immense and I am sure they'll choose established writers over any others.

    The game designer's job includes the writings aspects and more and I imagine game design is also a difficult job to get, because there are so many people who think they can 'design a project'. If you want to try some game design out look for Independent game projects out there (I'll give you some links at the bottom of this thread) and see what they need. Some of these projects may come from the modding community too. Indie game companies that are earning money might be willing to offer cash, but bear in mind, some people out there are really keen 14 year old kids that don't have a clue and you must find yourself an established team. Also a lot of independent projects have their project leader design it because the project leader probably starts making the game with a vision, like me for example, my hobby project exists because I had an idea.

    Though indie-game creation communities often require more than an idea before you advertise your project to them - so if you wanted to be a project leader, you might want more than game design skills. You might think there's opportunity in writer scripts for dialogue, but you may find no such luck because that's the game designer's or the producer's job, hence often or not dialogue in games is terrible - you could probably sit down thinking, "I can do that dialogue better, so they'd hire me instead", when they probably won't because it means they have to employ an extra person which costs extra money.

    [Edit] It seems there's a link rule, so I'll suggest something else:
    There are some communities out on the internet dedicated to the independent games industry and you might get lucky in finding the odd project who needs a writer - they don't pay much when they do, but it's worth doing if you enjoy it. Sites like ModDB has a whole collection of mods for various engines, but for more serious indie projects, there are communities dedicated for various low-budget game engines and languages, like Dark Basic Pro, Dark GDK, FPSCreator, Leadwerks, XNA, Torque 3D, Torque 2D, Unity3D, Visual 3D and there are communities like The Great Games Experiment where you might find some work-in-progress games that might need some assistance.

    I hope that helps. But I'm not an expert, just a hobbyist that does it all for fun - though for me to take on this hobby I had to learn how to program, 3D model, animate, texture, create digital music and only just now I am getting my projects into fruition - and it looks fairly amateur (but then I am). Though I've made it sound hard and it probably is quite a hard industry to get a job in, but there's no harm in trying, but like for any career decisions you make, have a plan B ready. ;)
     
  12. mattattack007
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    mattattack007 Member

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    I think that without some video games and RPGs, some of us wouldn't have ideas. Plus, i would LOVE to do a storyline for a RPG or video game!!
     
  13. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    It is insanely hard from what I here, but I've already started down this road, and there's nothing too it but to do it. My Plan A is basically to learn all I can from my classes, and then actually MAKE something, like you're doing, to prove that I can. Unfortunately, 3ds Max is the biggest one I know, and I can't seem to get any modding program that works with it. I... don't suppose you know of anything? Tried Neverwinter Nights 2, but the game crapped out on me and won't let me use the toolset in general, and the game seems to have problems with Windows 7.

    My Plan B is to write a novel. Because anyone can do that these days, and if I can do it well enough, then I won't starve to death.
     
  14. SilverRam
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    SilverRam Member

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    Writing for video games is fine. There are many story lines from games I adore. Why do you think so many games go on to be made into movies?(though not always the best movies.)

    For me, well, I'd love to be a concept artist since it looks like the animation industry has fallen into the quick and dirty morass and won't be getting out anytime soon. Working for Blizzard would be a dream. World building is very fun.
     
  15. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't see why you should be ashamed at all or why you would need to hide it.

    Personally I got into writing because I wanted to write stories based around my character in an MMO I play from time to time. Before I played it I always enjoyed reading, but while playing I think I truly fell in love with it. They were always brief, but sometimes you could find hidden books revealing a piece of the lore to the game. Sometimes it would deal with the great war that predates the game start, or sometimes its about the area's personal history. Then of course there were some NPCs that would reveal the lore through stories and such. Heh I became a bit of an expert, completely useless as the community and the DEVs themselves had little care about the story and such, but I just loved it and I pieced it all together. Which this just annoyed the hell out of me, because I kept seeing all this great potential for stories within the game. In my writing I tried my best to expand on it.

    Ok now I am ranting.

    Personally I have no idea what the market is like for such writers, but I wish you the best of luck.

    Personally I would be thrilled if I could write for a big MMO and have my story not only being told, but played through.
     
  16. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    Don't really know. While I realize there are a lot of young kids here that just want to write anime stories, I kind of don't want to get lumped in with them because I'm passed that phase, and I'm looking at it from a different perspective. Still, this being a writing forum and all, I always get the feeling of "BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS" with everything else being looked down on.

    Or maybe I'm just crazy and/or paranoid.
    Possibly that.
     
  17. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Well that perspective is pretty well drilled into everyone in Western culture at least....for the past 300 years its been novel novel novel...nothing else got into the canon so nothing else was taken too seriously.....but the canon is definitely shifting and allowing much more in (for better or worse). So things like anime, comics, graphic novels and children's books are all being taken seriously now - no need to be ashamed for writing them.

    Also, with comics (my thing), there are a lot of mechanics and stuff that wouldn't occur to most people on reading, but when you think about it, are actually really innovative and intelligent. Its not all trashy superheroes, its all temporal landscapes and symbolism. Good times.
     
  18. GrantG
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    GrantG New Member

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    Man, I wouldn't even know how to go about writing a video game; like Cogito said, it's very different than what most of us here probably write. Having said that, I think it'd be a good gig if you know how to handle it. Have you thought getting with conversion mod designers? I don't know much about the industry, but from what I've read a lot of people that worked on fan mods use that as credible experience when they go to interviews.

    I used to laugh at the thought that games had stories, but you know what? GTA IV was very interesting and complex and truly inspired. Also, against all odds, I really enjoyed the characters in Gears of War and I think that (although it didn't necessarily have a story worth mentioning) it was very well written, especially around the end... I remember thinking that even if it were only a movie that I couldn't play, I'd still enjoy it. Oh, and Half-Life 2 also helped change my opinion about video games having lousy writing... there were a few moments where I was even emotionally touched in a way I'd only been previously touched in books and movies and music. I'm sure there are other great examples of writing in video games, but I don't "game" very often.

    I think now more than ever you shouldn't be ashamed of wanting to write for video games. It's probably a wise move. Orson Scott Card did it. Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd just did it. I think George Lucas does it to an extent. Hey man, whatever floats your boat.
     

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