Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
plot, the entire story planned out on a very large napkin, and it's perfect. It's time to
start writing the scenes for the sandbox game. This part depends on how you prefer
to write your scripts. Some people like to plan out the number of scenes they'd like to
have and write brief descriptions of the important actions contained therein. Others
like to go straight to writing the script and see where that takes them. Whichever
method you use, you can't reasonably begin making your story into a sandbox one
unless you've either got the first draft of the script written or you've planned out the
whole story and are confident you won't deviate from what's been prepared. You
cannot begin to split the story thread without knowing where it's going to go. This
can often produce quests that lead to nothing as the writer failed to factor in the
production time constraints and never got to tie up these loose ends before the ship
date. So, long story short, you need the whole before moving on to the parts.
In this chapter, I will use the process of visually flowing out stories to really
illustrate what makes a game a sandbox one. I can't explain how important it is to
visually flow out your story for your game. It'll be immensely useful for you as you
continue to explore the various plots, as well as for the team, as members will be
able to situate themselves within the project that much faster. In many cases, I've
found that producers use it extensively to develop the project plan and assign tasks to
everyone concerned. I'll explain how sandbox games differ in writing as we proceed
with flowing out a sample game.
Blocking It Out
What you need to do is take your story ideas and start blocking them out into sepa-
rate events. Chart out your main plot; you'll want to use software like Microsoft Visio
or the like, whatever does the job. Be sure to accompany each of these blocks with a
page describing what that event is about and what occurs in it. This is a detailed ver-
Figure 13.1. Example of a barebones story flowchart. Each block represents a scene that
pushes the story forward.
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