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Old 06-11-2008, 11:36 AM   #11
Psynergy
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I have to say, this issue, as well as the 'hiring in writers' issue, is something that's been driving my last nerve.

As a games design student on a course where plot/narrative/story etc are barely touched on, and as a games design who is finding his strong points to lie in narrative and writing for games, it's thoroughly demoralising when you're told that if one were wanting to be a games journalist or writer for games, one should of taken a degree in journalism or, of all things, a TV/Movie Writing degree.

It's hard to express how frustrating it is when an industry that is apparently growing at an exponential rate is made of writers that have just fallen into their positions from other career paths, or are hired in to breathe some creative breath into a project.

I honestly couldn't be more confused as to what to do with my life, and the industry really isn't helping at all.
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Old 06-11-2008, 08:38 PM   #12
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Exclamation Don't dismay!

This might be a little outside the scope of the thread, but don't let other peoples 'guidelines' or 'regulations' interfere with your heart. Trust yourself. Other people might not 'understand', but that's ok, you're human. When Jason went to retrieve the golden fleece with the argonauts did he think, "this is certainly a bullshit task, full of risk, and people ready to rain on my parade"? No he want and sunk a funking island to make sure he got the object of his desire and a pretty righteous, though kin betraying, woman. Ok so that's just part of the story, but so is your woe. Move beyond it, maybe game writing isn't for you, or narrative design. Don't let your degree fool you either, school speaks for shit next to experience. It cost me a lot of education to learn that. Do what you know the best, be yourself, and watch how things unfold.
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Old 06-12-2008, 12:12 AM   #13
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To some degree, going into journalism or proffesional writing, employers don't necessarily look at the degree you have. The fact that you have one is often enough to get your foot in the door. The real thing such people look for is your ability to write and entertain people.
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Old 06-22-2008, 08:29 PM   #14
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How do we successfully introduce Narrative Design into the existing culture where Narrative Design is not a primary element of Game Design? ie. How the hell do we make a good game, a great game?

Last edited by MattyGamer : 06-22-2008 at 11:21 PM.
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Old 06-22-2008, 10:11 PM   #15
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Default networking, networking...

as the people I've talked to in the IGDA have said when I mentioned that nobody wants to attempt to take your writing seriously, "oh no, that's changing...seriously, it's changing."

There are two factors at work here, a chrysalis and an emerging butterfly. Nearly everyone, I would assume, that is currently in the gaming industry at some point thought, "I can make a great game," as opposed to "I can be a part of making a great game." This runs contrary to most of the people involved in the technical bulk of the movie industry. Also, a game's overt draw is interactivity, not story - working out the kinks of an infant medium requires working on the distinctive features first, not providing the same stories as film in a different context.
The emerging butterfly here is that everyone is, in the same breath that they lump your good ideas with the millions of aliens with space lasers game ideas, complaining that we aren't recognized as a legitimate aesthetic medium because we "don't have our Citizen Kane yet." I don't know why Citizen Kane is the benchmark, but we all get the point. So, like they are saying (those bigwigs I mentioned), the thinking toward story and overall design (the role of the director, so to speak, as less of a technical manager and more of a creative supervisor) is changing, slowly but surely. So don't lose hope - adapt and overcome.

Polish your craft, and pull a bruce lee -use anything you can from any school you can to develop the best set of tools. The movie industry's idea currency on the front end is script treatments - short summaries of an overall idea, a couple pages in length at most. Games may be a bit trickier, but the same strategies for hooking someone into your story in the first paragraph are helpful, so looking into how the movie industry does it isn't a bad idea. The only real differences between them and us is much more consistent dialogue and a diminished authoritative voice. So starting with fundamentals of film script writing and adapting to video games' layout, i.e. the user created experience, is a good place to start.

Also, I would heavily suggest getting into one of the master's in game design programs, like the Guildhall - I may be biased as I start there in august. But the only way to get around the current climate of a million kids sending in half-baked ideas with muscles, big guns, and scantily clad females is to go from outside the office to the watercooler. It's even a matter of pride for some companies to only take game ideas from inside, so it is strongly recommended that you develop a strong salable skillset that will get you in there as someone with creative street cred. Get involved in as many places as you can that the people making the decisions frequent - GCG is a good place to start, but for writers it is still difficult to demonstrate your talent - when development firms start scouting for talent, you want your name at the top of the list, so to speak.

But then again, I'm no accomplished writer or designer. I'm just a guy hoping to be one someday, so I apologize if you're disappointed that all this hot air was just outsider speculation.
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Old 06-22-2008, 10:29 PM   #16
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I've never seen Citizen Kane :P


The aspect of this debate that I've never heard raised is the movie industry's writer-directors. If the movie industry can have writers, directors, and people who can do both, why can't the video game industry? If the comic book industry can have artists, writers, and writer-artists, why can't the video game industry?
I don't see why it's an issue at all.
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Old 06-22-2008, 10:36 PM   #17
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That's the central issue - the writers that have traditionally worn the crown in games have been directors, artists, etc. first. A working skillset aside from writing has long been kind of the standard.,,that isn't to say that writers don't exist - bioware has plenty of them, gearbox has a couple...all comfy in their jobs, which, believe me - you can't have. The crux is, what entails "paying your dues" as a writer?

Also, unless I was putting together a resume, I wouldn't be using the term Narrative Design - while it captures the spirit of the position accurately, and I don't disagree at all with that, it's too cumbersome for general use.
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Old 06-22-2008, 11:53 PM   #18
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Default A Game of Prehistoric Power

If you read the whole thread I think we've covered the subject pretty darn well. Like any field, there are existing power structures in the now cash filled, innovation hungry, seemingly prehistoric, videogame industry, which for the most part prevent forward movement. People have careers placed on the line, or feel like they do, when another role is introduced that seemingly takes 'creative power' from them. It's only natural to be threatened.

Don't be afraid to call yourself a narrative designer, if that is what you are! Writing isn't narrative design. It takes a very diverse skill-set to be narrative designer, a clear understanding of interacitve media, and a command of classical storytelling. If you have the portfolio to back it up, don't sell yourself short.

If you want to prove that narrative design is viable, or that story is the way to start a game, I'd suggest doing it. Proof is in the pudding. No cash? No job? Start small, think big! Aim for the stars and you just might hit the moon! The world doesn't need more game story rants. Complaining about story is so last century. Really though, I've been guilty of it too, but like Lao Tzu said "He who speaks does not know, and he who knows does not speak." Keep silent, and get to designing.

Last edited by sdinehart : 06-22-2008 at 11:58 PM.
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Old 06-26-2008, 05:17 AM   #19
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http://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Guide...4486229&sr=8-1

Read that book.
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