Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
team are in taking the game down the design path. For the game that revolves
around a strong story the ideal situation would be for the writer to be brought
in as soon as the initial concepts and gameplay style have been agreed; he then
becomes an integral part of the design process from that point.The likelihood
is that when the first discussions take place there is already a clear idea of the
game with a thumbnail outline of initial story ideas along with possible con-
cept art that has been created for the main characters and some of the settings.
It is possible that the writer may be brought in much later as part of a
well-planned development process where the studio wants to be sure that
they can prove the gameplay ideas through prototyping before developing
the story and characters. It may be that the studio has not even considered
using a writer, but during development feels that the game is lacking some-
thing and needs the skills of a writer to work some kind of magic. Or perhaps
the developers only want to use a writer to create the game's dialogue
because the story is relatively superficial. Many other reasons - as varied as
the games themselves - mean that a writer could be invited to join a project
at virtually any point in its development.
Whenever the writer is brought in, because gameplay must be seen as the
most important aspect, they must be aware of how central the design team
are in the process. Programming and graphics are also vitally important to the
success of the game, of course, but the requirements of those two areas should
be defined by the design needs of the game. That is not to suggest that the
design dictates the programming and graphical tasks, because each of those
teams' development skills can offer valuable design possibilities and the good
lead designer will always be on the lookout for what the other departments
can add to a game's design. A good sound designer, too, may possibly inspire
original gameplay mechanics. It is the lead designer's task to pull together all
these skills and inputs, including those of the writer, and design a truly
original game with the aid of the rest of the design team.
It is vital, then, that the writer respects and understands the game design
There are some who feel that game design cannot be taught, which, if true,
would make it difficult for me to explain exactly what game design is. How-
ever, in a similar manner to other creative pursuits, game design can be taught
to those who have the necessary creativity combined with a love of games
and the desire to learn the subject. I am going to assume that even if you do
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