Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
rhythm, and excitement of the game, while also making the world and the charac-
ters in it feel more “alive.” A writer will not always have the opportunity to employ
this—you either need a player character with one or more passengers, a radio or
phone buddy, or a player character who monologues, or even a narrator voice over
the top of the game experience.
Likewise, linking in-game cutscenes are not always used. Sometimes the mission
design may necessitate a break in the game action, perhaps to change from one vehicle
to another, or to explain a shift in the motivation, say from chasing to being chased.
On such occasions, a writer may need to employ a linking in-game cutscene. In
essence, this is much the same as any other cutscene—except that it's even more
critical to write the scene as efficiently as possible, and it must explain the shift in
mission objective. (In older games, this kind of scene would also very rarely—if
ever—be an FMV. In more contemporary games, there is often less distinction, with
FMV being used less frequently across all cutscenes in any case.)
As for pedestrian and city speech , this tends to break down into two sub-categories:
player-triggered and idling. Idling speech is what you hear when you go near NPCs—
near enough to overhear, but not in such a way as you interact with them. Player-
triggered speech can be a “conversational response,” which could be tied to any num-
ber of samples either randomly or sequentially triggered, or it can be a “sensational
response,” i.e., running away when you try to run them over—cue screaming, yelling,
and lots of “argghhs.” While writing script for this latter sub-category will never be
the most exciting thing you'll do, the occasional gem can keep you entertained long
after it first mutated in your head in a desperate attempt to find another way of de-
livering an “argghh.” One such gem—which I can't take credit for as a writer, and
only a very partial credit for as a voice director—came from a voice actor ad-libbing
her way through a Chinese-American woman's lines in which she found a car in her
supermarket. Having seemingly exhausted every scream and yell either of us could
think of, she delivered the memorably fierce admonishment, “You bad driver!”
10.3 The Sports Cars
From the writer's perspective, the shiny, eye-catching part of the job is often the story.
This is where the writer will tend to feel he can contribute the most, where he can
help shape the game experience with the characters and plot.
If you're working on a driving game with a story, it's this element you ought to
tackle first—not necessarily to script level, but at least to outline and treatment. Once
you get approval on the various outlines and treatments, they will be your compass
for how to approach the whole game with regard to tone of voice and character.
At the same time as developing outlines and treatments, you need to be getting
your head around the game structure. The game structure is the foundation you
build your story structure around; it's the structure that tells you where you need to
get your characters into vehicles. Sometimes the motivation will be dictated by the
kind of mission, and sometimes your motivations in the story will shape new mis-
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