Synopses & Reviews
For a long time story and character development were shrugged off by the games industry. Now games are attempting to reach an ever broadening market that demands more sophistication, at least equal to that found in other media. Writers of games need the tools presented here to enable them to meet that demand. This is the first book of its kind to deal specifically with a subject many readers have been asking for: writing for games. It is written in an easy-to-read style for casual readers, but with enough detail that it could serve as a textbook. The game industry desperately needs such a book; there are currently no competing titles from other game dev publishers. This book is a great addition to the broad spectrum of offerings within the Course Technology/Premier Press Game Development series. This book does not address a specific product, technology or programming language. It addresses writing for video games that feature dramatic characters and storytelling, which include most video games on personal computers, console games, and multiplayer internet games. Any flowcharts used in the book are created with Visio.
This is a book of ideas and of choices. Knowing which choices to make is not teachable. It's part of that creative instinct we call talent whose secret voice guides us every time we sit down at the keyboard. All stories are not identical. They are shaped by all those unique facets of the human beings who write them. All any writer can do when he wants to share his knowledge with others is be as open and giving as possible; and hope others can learn from that. You hold in your hands most of what I know about writing for games and much of what I believe and practice no matter what kind of writing I'm doing. It is meant to inform, to instruct, and maybe even inspire. It is as much about game design as it is writing for games. The two are virtually inseparable. The book itself has been designed as a quest. We are all of us on a journey toward a destination for which there is no single road. --Lee Sheldon, Author
About the Author
Lee Sheldon began his career in Hollywood writing and/or producing many popular television shows including "Star Trek: The Next Generation", "Charlie?s Angels", and "Edge of Night" in the 1970s and 1980s. While continuing his Hollywood projects, Lee branched into writing and designing games in 1994. His work includes solo games such as the award-winning The Riddle of Master Lu, Dark Side of the Moon, and Wild Wild West:The Steel Assassin. Since 2000, he has written and designed massively multiplayer worlds for companies including Cyan (URU) and Disney (Virtual Kingdom). He has just recently completed a secret code-named project for Microsoft. Upcoming projects include a genre-breaking single player game for Atari and a new massively multiplayer world.
Lee, from Palm Harbor, Florida, is recognized as one of the leading experts in the games industry on storytelling and character development in games. Since 1993, he has given a full day tutorial on these and related issues at the Game Developers Conference, and has appeared on panels and given presentations elsewhere. He is a charter member of the exclusive invitation-only Game Design Workshop that includes most of the major game designers in the industry. He is the author of "Impossible Bliss" (0595194818), a mystery novel.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Prehistoric Campfire Part 1: The Audience Remains the Same 1. Jungs Universal Consciousness 2. Campbells The Heros Journey Part 2: The Roots of Storytelling 3. Elements of Dramatic Writing 4. Aristotle and Those Other Greeks 5. Beginnings of Modular Storytelling 6. Canterbury Tales 7. Don Quixote de la Mancha Part 3: The Modern Novel 8. Charles Dickens and Publishing in Parts Part 4: The Silver Screen 9. Elements of Film Language 10. From The Great Train Robbery to Birth of a Nation 11. Saturday Morning at the Movies (Movie Serials) Part 5: The Small Screen 12. Daytime Soap Operas 13. Episodic Television Part 6: The Roots of Gameplay 14. Why Make Games? 15. Why Tell Stories? 16. Elements of Game Language 17. Adventure Games 18. Roleplaying in the Kitchen Part 7: Respecting Characters 19. Non-Player Characters 20. Major Characters (Villains, Sidekicks, etc.) 21. Extras 22. Character Arcs 23. Revealing Character through Action 24. First-Person vs. Third Person 25. Dialogue 26. Memory 27. Entrances and Exits Part 8: Storytelling in Games 28. Willing Suspension of Disbelief 29. The Fourth Wall 30. Emotion (Empathy, humor, tears) 31. Consistency of the World 32. Finding a Style that Fits 33. Original Material 34. Adaptations from other Media 35. Arcs 36. Reversals 37. Rewards 38. The Story Up till Now 39. Naturalism 40. Verisimilitude 41. Scope and Scale Afterword: When Craft Becomes Art