Game Development Reference
Writing for FPSs means working closely with other teams, because they affect your
story on dozens of minute levels.
6.13 Writing for the Multiplayer FPS
There are many FPS games that are strictly multiplayer. Counter-Strike and Counter-
Strike: Source are the most popular, but there is also the Battlefield series, America's
Army ,and,mostrecently, Quake Wars . The vast majority of single-player FPS games
also come with a multiplayer component: Halo , F. E . A . R . , Call of Duty ,theClancy
games, Unreal Tournament ,the Soldier of Fortune series.
Multiplayer FPSs require a different kind of writing. It's very specific, less to
do with character and story and more to do with creating the world and enhancing
gameplay. As a new multiplayer level (or map) loads, often there is text describing
the player's objectives (what you need to capture or who you need to guard). Often
there will be static images to help explain what needs accomplishing. In the new
Te a m F o r t r e s s 2 , there are witty black-and-white 1960s style “educational” films that
tell the teams what their objectives are and what they need to do to win.
There are also in-game menus that need to be written, like for load-out screens
where players must choose weapons, equipment, or character classes. In the afore-
mentioned Te a m F o r t r e s s 2 , there are nine different classes to play. Each is delineated
with a little description.
This type of writing is not simply informational. It helps to create the world, the
atmosphere, and the setting. Whether it's a sci-fi game or a WWII shooter, the player
wants to feel immersed in the game's universe.
Voiceovers are another method used to direct, aid, and immerse the player. Like
text, you can use them to help create the tone, the world, and the setting. They can
be the forceful, clipped commands of a captain or a sergeant ordering his soldiers
(teammates) forward. But there is also room for commentary and humor. Some of
these voiceovers are scripted into the game. When a player strays to the edges of the
map, the voice of God can direct him back into the game or the next objective.
Player-activated voiceovers also have a large role in multiplayer shooters. There
are two basic categories.
Many of the newer games come with in-game voice chat capability, but there are
also standalone voice chat programs that are used specifically by gamers. Teams-
peak and Ventrilo are two of the most well-known. This chat capability is used to
promote teamwork as many FPS multiplayer games are team-based and require well-
coordinated teamwork. If someone doesn't have a microphone (or prefers not to talk
online), there are also pre-recorded commands from which to choose. The player
can use these to help direct his teammates. In Counter-Strike: Source ,someofthese