Game Development Reference
The writer and game development
I was recently approached by a game development studio that wished to use
my services as a writer, but had not been their first choice. Encouraged by
their publisher, they had initially looked for writers who were established in
other fields and contacted a number of them with a view to hiring their
services. Unfortunately, because they had no experience of working on
games, dealing with those writers was a struggle and certainly didn't work
out as the studio hoped. When I was brought onto the project, they readily
admitted they were relieved to be working with a writer who understood
the game development process.
The problems that had arisen with those other writers had nothing to do
with the quality of their writing skills and abilities, but they lacked the
specific game development knowledge they needed.The development studio
did not have the time or resources to act as nursemaid while the writers
learned the ropes and adjusted their skills to fit the new medium and so the
working relationship faltered before it even had a chance to begin.
Like other industries, the companies that make up the games industry are
governed by the need to create a successful product in order to be profitable
and remain in business. However, this is becoming progressively more difficult
- as technical and hardware developments become increasingly sophisticated,
profit margins are being squeezed to the point where a rigid schedule and
budget dictate much of a studio's development process.Anything that is likely
to upset that process, add to the schedule or increase the budget will not be
considered.This is why it is vitally important for the games writer to not only
be familiar with games, but also with the game development process. Only
then will the writer be able to bring experience and skills to bear in a way
that will benefit the project in an exciting and original manner.
This chapter will look at the industry in broad terms and how the writer
can fit into that process. Without this broad view some of the subjects
covered in later chapters will not have the right background context.
Although there were games before it, Pong was, when it came out in 1973,
arguably the first video game to really capture the public eye. Although it