Game Development Reference
new ways to present the information or be forced to remove it altogether and
simplify the plot. Some plot information from the sections that are cut can
be incorporated into other scenes, though care has to be taken that the scene
structure is not undermined through doing so. Sometimes the writer is
forced to put the information into a diary, letter or other such device where
it can be read as text. In my view, this is rarely a satisfying way to present plot
information and should only be used if it is the only solution available within
the new restrictions.
The principle of 'show, don't tell' should be extended to 'show, don't tell,
don't use diaries'.
The games industry changes rapidly and sometimes there is a great temptation
for publishers and developers to react too strongly to a perceived market shift.
If the level of conviction on a project is not particularly high then developers
could be looking for a winning formula that can be applied to the game.
The gaming press is constantly filled with the next big thing where journ-
alists become excited by, hopefully, outstanding games to the point where
perfectly good games are ignored. While there is nothing wrong with pre-
senting news and coverage of games, there can be the temptation to compare
other developers' games with your own. Familiarity with your project can be
a real danger, making the screens and gameplay everyone has been staring at
for months seem a little stale in comparison to the screenshots you have just
seen in a magazine and the article you have read on the gameplay.
The temptation to tweak and change in response to the perception of
what is the current hot game must be resisted or it will add a great deal of
time to the schedule. It is important that the team holds true to the original
vision, including the writer's part in that vision.
However, there are times when the publisher is willing to put in additional
funding and push back deadlines so that certain aspects of the game can be
changed or adapted. In a development cycle which could last two years or
more, there is always the chance that the game will be perceived as being too
'last year' even if it was designed to be cutting edge when the project started.
Publishers are ever mindful of the rapidly-changing nature of the market-
place and even the most experienced can have a difficult time forecasting two
When the request for changes comes from a need to fit into the market,
you must be aware of recent games and those on the horizon. Understand