First Draft of Game

I have this question, but first a bit of context - recently I started to write a game.
The problem is I can’t get past the first chapter. I constantly rewrite it, change it and tweak it, hoping to get it “just right”, instead of focusing on writing the game as a whole.
This brings me to my question: What do you think is important in the first drafts of the game?
What do you upmost attention to while writing, and what you leave for later?
Just thought this might be an interesting discussion.

Ideally you would get down the core game mechanics, even if they aren’t implemented yet. Most of this could be just in your head and not on the page. This doesn’t always happen, and it’s totally fine to reimagine the game from the bottom up if you find it’s not going where you want it to. Probably best to avoid doing this too often, though. People are definitely going to lose interest if the core gameplay changes repeatedly, especially if the earlier versions piqued their interest greatly.

2 Likes

To me, first drafts are mostly for bringing the game/story into existence. To extricate the idea from my head and onto paper/screen as proof of the world that I’ve been building has come to life. So, my ultimate priority in first drafts is to get it done, then move on to other chapters so I can get to the second draft, and if I’m feeling extra perfectionist, a third draft.

Basically, I try to convey the plot/story I have in mind first. Doesn’t have to be perfect – gotta keep reminding myself that first drafts are for existing. I don’t have every little detail planned out, but I do have a general idea of what I want to happen.

Things I leave for later are the final touches, like stat-balancing and proofreading. Sometimes I even leave the opening sentence as ‘opening sentence here’ until a really good sentence hits me, usually nearing the end of the first draft, when I’ve already written quite a bit into the future.

I think it’s pretty normal for a lot of writers to get fixated about getting the first chapter just right and find themselves stuck in moving forward from there. I was like that too, but then I drilled the idea into my head that I’m allowed to have fun in my writing, no one’s holding a gun to my head to write, and I can always go back and fix the story later on.

I just gotta get said story to exist first.

5 Likes

The one thing I can say is IGNORE THE FIRST CHAPTER you will need to rewrite it anyway once you are further into the game. Just get it over with, then continue.

Both in books and games, the beginning needs to be very good, but it CAN’T be good until you’ve written the end (or close to) so you know what you need to have there. The first chapter will mutate endlessly as stats and ideas change, and might end up being not the first chapter at all. Retribution’s original first chapter is now well into the book.

9 Likes

That happened to me too, I already lost count of how many times I wrote the first chapter, just write it as best as you can and keep going.
I learned a lot of things later on so when I reviewed the beginning I realized that I didn’t knew a thing back then (not that I know much now either) but you’ll learn enough to see your own mistakes and obvious things you can easily improve.

1 Like

I just wanted to ask, what do you mean by “core mechanics”? Most Choice script I’ve seen seem very similiarl. Do you mean something like how in MetaHuman you can invest in different projects in between chapters? Does this really count as a mechanic? Cause I’m not sure.

I think he refers to how you have to branch the story depending on stats and variables. You can know that you have to make a branch for the player if he chooses strength as the main stat, other for magic, and another one for persuasion.
If you don’t plan that ahead you’ll have to go back and rewrite it to match the mechanics. You don’t need to code it right away if you don’t know how, but you can tag it like, strength branch, or whatever, but you’ll be following the right path, and then you’ll just have to add the coding.
I do all at the same time cause it keeps my things in order, but there’s no right or wrong way to do it, just what works for you.

1 Like

Figure out which stats you want, how they get modified (if at all), and what (generically) they are used for.

If your game is heavy romance, you probably want stats related to your relationships with specific people.

If your game is combat focused, you may want a health and damage system, or maybe you just want stat threshold success/failure.