Game Development Reference
as they choose, depending on what they've discovered. These present obvious and
significant challenges to traditional narrative storytelling.
Yet another structure is something called a “dynamic” campaign, in which the
player's performance on each mission determines what the next mission will be like.
Dynamic campaigns are very difficult to implement well, and there are few examples.
Typical approaches are to generate missions algorithmically, or to have a number of
mission templates that can be chosen from (with some degree of procedural mod-
ification applied to make the outcome of previous missions influence subsequent
missions). Players feel like they are actually fighting in a campaign that can have a
natural feeling of ebb and flow that does not play the same way twice. This is great
for replayability but extremely challenging for game writers trying to tell a story.
In general, the writing for any game involves the following areas:
In-game. During gameplay; this includes mission briefings, radio messages,
Cutscenes. Non-interactive cinematic sequences.
Game manual. Game installation and operation.
Packaging. Game description and features.
Website. Primarily a marketing tool for most games; may be quite extensive
and include community support.
Other. Sales and marketing materials such as ad copy, sell sheets, etc.; many
games also have a strategy guide written during the end of development so that
the topic can be available when the game hits store shelves)
The following sections focus more on the specifics of writing for simulators and
how this differs from other types of games.
9.5 Story? What Story?
Simulators are not usually known for their stories and character development. Such
story as may be provided is usually just a thin excuse for the action. A notable ex-
ception is the X-Wing series, particularly TIE Fighter and X-Wing Alliance . Delivery
of the story occurs primarily in the mission briefings and the messages the player
receives during the missions.
One should also carefully consider the tone. Will the story be played straight,
with respect for the deadly seriousness of the subject matter, or light-heartedly with
a gung-ho enthusiasm for the sheer excitement of things? On Blood Wake ,webegan
with a more serious story and chose an almost stilted Victorian-era tone to the script.