Game Development Reference
ers may have an impact on the consequences of these event nodes. If the
characters have been chased into the city park through player actions, they
survive the earthquake. Still in the apartment? Sorry, that character just died.
Make sure every battle you fight is gaining the right ground. Keeping
this strategy in mind, you need to make sure that each “act” in the narrative is
headed in the right direction. Don't get too bogged down in side skirmishes.
These can be fun sometimes, but they're rarely going to be more exciting for
players than the original narrative you planned. It's really hard to do foreshad-
owing for a story headed off into the unknown.
Manage player expectations. Good narrative takes time. Consider ra-
tioning new content on a regular basis—once a week or twice a week or once
a month. Don't plan to be “on stage” every day, 24 hours a day. Allow yourself
the time to produce quality.
Stay organized. Know exactly what content goes where when an event node
is reached. Keep a spreadsheet or a whiteboard sketch and name your files in
ways that make sense. (But be careful about where you store those materials.
Players have been known to hack websites and find future materials using your
helpful file-naming conventions.)
Communicate with your team and trust them. Iknowsomepeoplehave
tried to do ARGs entirely as a one-man-band, but I don't recommend it. Con-
structing an alternate reality is a big job, and delegation can make everything
better. However, it's essential to keep all of the team in the loop about what
you're thinking and planning. Others will be able to contribute good ideas,
but only if you include them in the scheming. Communication with the team
is even more vital when you're dealing with live interaction with the players.
Actors need to be prepped with as much information as you can possibly give
them about the part they're about to play and the rules of the alternate reality
they're in. Who are the bad guys? Who are the good guys? What side are you
on? They need to know everything you can get across in short synopses. They
don't have the time for a ten-page treatise on the childhood problems your
villain went through. But they do need to know about his ultimate goals, his
allies, and his recent victims. When at all possible, use actors who are comfort-
able with improv and have more than one conversation with them about their
role. Take time to practice, and communicate with the whole team about how
that actor fits.
14.4 Writing Live—Working without a Net
When I say “writing live,” I mean writing when there's no opportunity to edit your
work. No opportunity at all. Your first draft goes live as soon as you type it. Some