Game Development Reference
Figure 10.1. Types of games with vehicles in them.
games. Although perhaps not immediately apparent, there is a fundamental differ-
ence between the first and third categories. In writing a story for a driving game, a
writergenerallyhastoconsiderwaysofdirecting that story in such a way that it feeds
directly into driving-related activities. Or, another way of putting this: the writer is
constantly looking for ways to link the story to a reason to get in a vehicle and do
something, preferably to do something that can only be done in a vehicle, something
that wouldn't make anywhere near as much sense to even attempt without a vehi-
cle. In this way, driving missions effectively become the “plot points” around which
you're looking to build your story. These “plot points” are sometimes linear, such as
in games like Driver 2 and Driver 3 , and sometimes they are “pot-based,” optional,
but unified by theme, as in games like Driver and Driver '76 .
The essential difference between this and a game that has car-related action and
has a story is that the writer isn't always looking at driving elements—often termed
“missions”—as being “plot points.” In these kinds of games, a vehicle is a tool,
something to use if it's helpful but not something the writer must necessarily always
look to incorporate. In a driving game, the player has to be coaxed by the story to
get behind a wheel with a reason. Or, if the player is always locked in the vehicle,
the story needs to provide additional incentive to stay with certain characters and
complete certain passages of gameplay. If the story doesn't create a situation in which
the player is going to drive, then there is no game—one must feed into—or feed
Not only that, but the writer is usually looking to find ways of stringing a number
of car-based missions together with the minimum amount of story between them.
As a rule, the more car-based missions you can “run off ” the same part of story the
Agamelike Crackdown can work just as well without the player always getting
into a car. In fact, sometimes it can work even better and be even more satisfying as
an experience when, instead of setting off on a chase, you realize you can circumvent
the whole episode by shooting someone at range beforehand.
The difference is that cars are a means to an end in a game like Saints Row —
they're something, as a player, you use and abuse as a situation requires. As a writer,
this means, design permitting, your story can meander in and out of vehicle-related