Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
Game design and writing
The game development process can be quite varied, depending on the size
and scope of the project and the way that the development studio works, so
it is difficult to define a template for what a writer's role will be for every game
in development, now or in the future. However, if we look from the develop-
ment studio's viewpoint, we can appreciate that if there is an interest in hiring
the services of a writer, the studio will be more inclined towards one who can
show an appreciation of the design process and work well with the game's lead
designer. In most respects, the contributions of the writer can be classified as
design content, because story, dialogue, character profiles, etc., should all be
created in a way that add to the design of the gameplay. It is therefore
important that the lead designer on a game feels comfortable with the writer's
game writing skills. With this in mind, then, it is important to look at how
writing and design may come together with the development of a game.
The most involved games often require months or even years of a writer's
time, on and off; while others may occupy a couple of days here and there,
with the occasional half-day polishing task. Even games that appear to be
very similar can have greatly varying writing needs, which are dictated by the
game's design and how the lead designer is able to make full use of the
writer's skills.
A game's design could be the responsibility of a single individual or it could
involve a larger team controlled by a lead designer whose job it is to ensure
that the game's design is cohesive and consistent. Often, contributions from
other departments in the studio, such as programming and graphics, will be an
important factor in determining the direction of the design and each depart-
ment will have varying degrees of influence. Design meetings, therefore, can
also be very different from one another. A writer can find himself sitting
among a group of people with very different ideas on what are the most
important aspects of the development process, which will colour their input.
Often, though, the writer will be spared a lot of the in-house discussion and
simply meet with the lead designer or design team to work specifically on
relevant tasks.
At what point in the process the writer becomes involved depends on the
importance the writing plays in the game's design and how confident the
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