Game Development Reference
Because this access will usually take place during a period when the game
is going through a final testing and polishing phase, any last minute changes
in the game could affect the content of the strategy guide. However, gener-
ally speaking, the last couple of months before gold master are usually spent
making minor adjustments and fixing bugs, so any changes that affect the
guide should be quite minimal, all being well.
Changes, no matter how small, could still affect the guide, so it is impor-
tant that you come to an agreement with the developer that you will be kept
up to date with any changes that take place. The main problem here is that
the developer will be extremely busy during this period and you may be
competing for even the smallest amount of their time with many other
things of much higher priority. Even the basic information that you require
may be difficult to obtain at short notice, so be sure to plan your requests
with as much time leeway as possible. It is always best if you can have one
point of contact, preferably the in-house producer or project manager as this
person should be the one who can most easily pull together any resources
that you will need without affecting the programmers and artists who will all
be extremely busy. Be sure that you obtain information on all the secret or
hidden areas that may be a part of the game.
The way you approach the writing of the guide will depend on the style
of the game, its length and its complexity.You should look at other published
guides that cover games of a similar genre to get an idea of what is expected
and how it should be laid out.This will also probably inspire you to think of
how you may be able to put your own stamp on it to create a guide that is
both informative and a pleasure to read.
Most guides are great to look at with plenty of graphics taken from the
game and the topic is laid out in a well designed manner, so your writing must
compliment this. Even with the usual large format of the pages there is no
point in writing five hundred words for each page or it will leave no room for
the graphics.Your writing must be tight and to the point - the buyer of the
guide wants it to help them work their way through the game and too much
text will be off-putting and keep them from playing the game for too long.
The advantage of keeping the writing brief is that the whole book should
not take too long to write, which is often a necessity. A writer is often given
only one or two weeks to complete the topic, so a balance between clarity,
completeness and detail should be aimed for.
The guide must take the player through the game from start to finish.
How much detail is to be inserted along the way will depend on the amount