How do you write your games


#1

I was just curious as to how people go about writing their games.
For myself, i have an overarching idea, but i haven’t really fleshed a lot of the story out yet, rather i know what i want to happen with the game mechanics, and some major plot points, and some characters.
Do people tend to write the whole story first, then make it into a game, or do it chapter by chapter, ie write the story for the chapter then gamify it.
Or do they make the game and add the story on the fly as they go along (i tend to do this a little)?
I guess I’m just curious as to what way people are writing these games, and whether my process will work or not. I have a bad feeling my way may lead to a disjointed story if i havent got the whole story planned out before i start making it into a game.


#2

I write the main story (basically I go through it like a traditional novel would read, and choose the “best” choices so that it can progress) After that, I go back in fill in all the branches.


#3

So in the case of your story then there is usually a “best” choice that the user can make each time, to get a “best” ending, or at least the ending you envisioned.
Maybe that will make it a better “story”.
So in my mind, and i have no idea if ill ever finish mine, there are a number of different endings that would all end in a “win” for the reader, and a number of different ways to get there.
I’m just not sure how i can combine that with writing the story first, or even if i should, maybe mine will be more of a “game” then “story”.


#4

Hmm…I’d say it’s a mix of both, since it’s an interactive novel.


#5

@isisius
I tend to write things more like a game than a story, and I very easily fall into the pattern of writing up the game elements first before writing in any actual text. It’s what helps me maintain the momentum (although that’s just as likely to slow the progress for others).

Do whatever comes naturally and is easiest to you. If you have to put in a few “TODO” placeholders and come back to fill in the text later, there’s nothing wrong with that. Just keep a general structure for where you want the story to go. If it still seems disjointed after everything’s done, you can always edit to smooth things out.


#6

I have a general idea and then write down the major plot points I want to reach, and more or less wing it from there.


#7

Cool so it seems at least a couple of people do it similar to how i do.
I was worried everyone here was just writing the stories first and that i was going to lack a good solid story simply because i prefer to fit the story around the game, as long as it goes along track with my major plot points as opposed to fitting a game around complete story.,


#8

Unfortunately I make my game and story alongside each other. This will probably end up creating massive plotholes.


#9

I write an outline for the plot. This includes general overviews of backstories, histories, economic and weather climates, terrains, map building, the creation of ‘core’ characters, namely allies and antagonists. Core concepts are established here, namely lore but also, dieties, religion, the history and the way the world ‘works’. Is it high-magic, low-magic, fantasy etc. Are there specific monsters, or something.

So, it’s a pretty time consuming process and not all of it will even make the actual ‘story’ itself for the player to view.

This is followed with an outline and a goal for the chapter(s), be it a destination or whatever. The outline includes the why’s, where and when. Plus the world and nation history going on at that point in time. With each chapter, a location in established, a brief blurb on what is happening is written, a motivation for the main player character. This follows with filling in the world map by pinpointing the location, then digging in and writing the history and influences of THAT specific nation.

So things such as, the terrain, important landmarks, weather, trade, national and international relationships. The name of the capital, the names of major cities and places (accessible or not), the names of allies and enemies (accessible or not).

I then note the wherabouts of all important characters, are they relevant? If not what are they doing? Where are they in their ‘personal arc’? How will this affect the story later, when the player does eventually meet them? I then establish the characters of the chapter, friends, allies, family members, guards of the cities or locations, important religious members, local governors etc. Of these, only a few will be fully fleshed out, less will be met in the actual chapter itself. I list their motivations, looks, personalities etc.

Then I write the basic start of the chapter, and with that start, begin presenting broad ‘choices’ that lead to different paths. They can either go to different locations, result in different characters appearing and so on and so forth. Essentially, I’ll write very broad ‘pathway’ guides, so “joins the army” is obvious enough, “Investigates closer to home - elaborated on in my notes etc” so I have a general idea of where I’m going with each path.

Then, I write the focus for the ‘paths’ or major choices. What other characters will be met? Where will this path go? How many branches will occur in this path? How high is the risk of danger or death? Do I have the scope to include branching ‘quests’ within that path? Do I have the ability to modify stats in the background or foreground? Can I include items? And so on. Then I write, and I streamline each choice, while offering some ‘variable’ in the story content, i.e. branches within branches that eventually return to the main plot.

All this is held up by writing of statistics, a folder full of notes and endless pages of ideas and concepts. I list exactly what variables, items, characters go where, so that when all three ‘major’ choices detailed at the START of the chapter re-unify for the next chapter I can decide which bits I can carry over and which, I have to ‘kill’.

The difficulties with that is;

  1. It is VERY slow to progress with writing. It’s taken me months to write for Paladins, and I’m still no where near done in chapter 1 for example.

  2. It is VERY tricky to keep track of everything, the one way around it is to write self-contained chapters, but I don’t particularly want to do that.

  3. There is a danger that I end up writing a ‘story’ and not necessarily a ‘game’. There’s also the danger I’m over-doing everything in the planning and writing stages so much so, that the quality of the writing itself isn’t all brilliant or cohesive. But that’s the risk I take.

Probably a bit too in-depth I suppose. :slight_smile:


#10

@RVallant, no i think thats a pretty great process, and i wish i was able to do similar, i just don’t know if i’d have the patience.
I am similar in that i have a document that has an overarching story, major plot points, brief (like 2 lines) chapter descriptions, character descriptions of major characters, major towns.
However I haven’t really got defined “paths” as such at this point, rather i have a story in mind, and im trying to make it viable for the reader to get there in a number of different combinations. Not sure if this will work well or not, i guess time will tell :slight_smile:
Not even out of the first chapter yet, so i guess thats an issue for future me to worry about :slight_smile: