Story Writing, Game Design and Writer's Block

Discuss game development design and post your game ideas

Post » Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:46 pm

I've recently completed the a part of the base of my game, basically finishing most of the core mechanics. I could have continued on to design some of the details, but I stopped to think about and try to flesh out my story into more detail. I was hoping to use the story to better inform the characters, game and level design. However, it has taken quite a while for me to think it through and structure everything properly, and at times I've experienced writers block.

Would it be better to work on the game itself when experiencing some creative down time, or should I stick to the story until it's finished? I keep thinking that I will end up doing unnecessary work if I don't work out all the details of the story (eg. some mechanics may not fit the context of the story), yet there are times where I find myself stuck while writing.

Just throwing it out there to see how everyone handles this kind of situation.
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Post » Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:06 pm

My approach is quite different than yours, but I'll share it.

While fleshing out every bit of story, mechanics and general designs before actually working on it is a good and positive thing, i tend to almost to the opposite. I've worked at professional companies where your approach seems to be the best thing to do, but the moment i started on my own i noticed my urge to do it differently.

Too many times have projects started out - and stayed in the concept/pre-production phase. For my project now, i fleshed out the general synopsis of the game, declared the main mechanics of the game, and just jumped into it.

Basically this leaves me with an interesting approach where I see progression daily. As long as I'm familiar with my own backstory, main events and such, I can push out level after level at an amazing pace. The key to this is that i only use placeholder graphics, and always has the story, events and such in the back of my head.

From a project management perspective this is awesome, because you get to see constant progression to the project. You also get the chance to test things appropriately, and make changes before the final pieces are put in.

From a writing/story perspective, you get to dive into your own world as you make it, where you can add elements, take away elements, and make proper alterations on the go to fit "the big picture".

And to add to your post - this definitely clears my "blockades", in terms of writing. If im stuck i'll just throw together another level segment, or test the already existing ones! :)
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Post » Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:49 am

Thanks for sharing Era. I've ended up following our approach for the past few days, makes me feel a lot more productive. I guess that's one of the benefits of making your own games, you can do what you want, when you want it. I wonder if it gets a bit disorganized later on in development because everything seems subject to change / ad hoc.

I will need to get that story polished up sooner or later though :S

It seems pretty fun right now, but only time will tell how effective it is. Thanks again :)
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Post » Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:46 am

@Era, thanks for giving us a synopsis of your working methodology. It seems like a good way to keep the wheels rolling as well as being more agile. I am still in the throes of learning enough of the mechanics to be able to do what I want to do, so maybe I need to step back and follow a more iterative process like yours until I become more proficient. Again, thanks for sharing.
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