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Author Topic: How To Write, Direct Video Games?  (Read 874 times)
Samsaraindo
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« on: April 23, 2008, 01:09:30 PM »

I enjoy writing fiction and in the past year have been getting more and more into it. I was wondering how people can get into writing for video games, esp. for RPGs since the story is usually such a huge element.

Most of the information I've been searching for seems to relate on how to become a video game designer or artist, but I am more specifically interested in finding out how one can write for games and participate in their direction.

Of course, contacts would be the biggest most obvious answer that pops into my head.

Thanks.
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My Top 5 RPGs: 1) Xenogears 2) Final Fantasy IV 3) Terranigma 4) Persona 2 Eternal Punishment 5) Final Fantasy VI
daschrier
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« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2008, 01:54:53 PM »

Seems like most video games are written as well as a novel for a 10 year old...so it shouldn't be hard to do...

But seriously, I'm sure some sort of literary training is neccessary.
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Prime Mover
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« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2008, 02:03:24 PM »

I'd get the contact email to some of your favorite game companies and write to them... it can't hurt. Maybe even duplicate your emails into letters and send them via snail mail, since probably a hard copy is more likely to get noticed these days.

But first, you'll want to prepare a resume or portfolio of your work. Have a few short stories prepared in order to demonstrate your writing style and ability. If you have any short play scripts, that would probably be s definitely plus as well, since game writing is a varient on script writing.

I wrote for radio for about a year and a half, writing and editing a radio drama, and I learned a lot about having to churn out a fairly substantial amount dailog in a short amount of time. If there are any local or college radio stations, you might consider going that direction, or theatre organizations looking for original work. It's a good way to test out your ideas and hone your skills. And it's a lot of fun.

But yes, have a few choice works to send (not too much, just a few things), and send them via snail mail primarily. It's all about the portfolio. An education will give you the skills needed, but they're not going to give two shits about whether or not you have an english or creative writing degree. That said, having a degree really should be at the top of your list too, since it will give you more tools to work with.

Oh, this should go without saying, but don't bother with foreign game companies unless you're fluent in their language, because they won't give you the time of day unless you can write in their language. Stick with American, Canadian, and UK companies.
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eelhouse.net
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Akanbe-
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« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2008, 03:24:57 PM »

Quote from: "daschrier"
Seems like most video games are written as well as a novel for a 10 year old...so it shouldn't be hard to do...


Many people on this board blow this ridiculously out of proportion.  Whether it's true or not, it's like a board fad to claim this now.


edit:  after reading Prime Mover's post I realized I read daschrier's post wrong, but what i was getting at still stands
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everluck
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« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2008, 03:32:02 PM »

Quote from: "Prime Mover"
But first, you'll want to prepare a resume or portfolio of your work. Have a few short stories prepared in order to demonstrate your writing style and ability. If you have any short play scripts, that would probably be s definitely plus as well, since game writing is a variant on script writing.

I wrote for radio for about a year and a half, writing and editing a radio drama, and I learned a lot about having to churn out a fairly substantial amount dailog in a short amount of time. If there are any local or college radio stations, you might consider going that direction, or theatre organizations looking for original work. It's a good way to test out your ideas and hone your skills. And it's a lot of fun.

This.

Also, take classes. Especially if you're interested in directing. You're going to need to go to school for that.
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Prime Mover
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« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2008, 04:28:02 PM »

Quote from: "Akanbe-"
Many people on this board blow this ridiculously out of proportion.  Whether it's true or not, it's like a board fad to claim this now.

My thoughts exactly. Well, not just that, but that it underestimates the difficulty for writing engaging children's books, and the quality and universality of good writing for young adults. Yes, many games are written so that 11 year olds can read them. Do you know what else are? Newspapers, Magazines, 99% of all TV shows, including most of our favorites. Firefly, Star Trek, Law & Order... believe it or not, these are all written with an 11-year-old's vocabulary in mind, because to follow these things accurately with one viewing, the writing must be simple enough so that there isn't a lot of thought wasted on attempting to decypher the writing.

Simple writing = good. In fact, most RPGs that have poor writing are that way because they attempt to be too complex in their writing. Then dialog comes across as unrealistic and contrived, and energy is wasted on decyphering the language instead of unravelling the greater meanings and playfull construction.

Go read most of the world's most renound poets and authors... usually their writing is very direct and not too difficult to decypher, at least the basic meanings. It's the subtlety of construction and the secondary meanings that make the writing so good.

Usually my favorite dialog sections in books, games, movies, etc. are when characters are not in the middle of some life-changing event, but just sitting down and being themselves, bantering. That's when you really see the subtlety of good character construction.
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eelhouse.net
- order the new album

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Samsaraindo
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« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2008, 05:17:45 PM »

Thanks for the awesome advice. Developing a portfolio does seem like the essential short term goal right now.

I already have a BA Degree (history) from USC [trojan in the house], so I have that covered, but I have no experience writing screenplays or for theatre.

I need to get up on those things and experiment with different kinds of writing - short stories, scripts etc. This will take alot of practice since my college writing was 90% essay, term paper, analytical stuff.

It doesn't help that I'm headed to law school in August either.

As for a foreign language, I lived in Japan for a year and studied it for about a year and a half but I'm SEVERAL years away from writing in that language at an advanced "story or script" level.

Thanks people!
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My Top 5 RPGs: 1) Xenogears 2) Final Fantasy IV 3) Terranigma 4) Persona 2 Eternal Punishment 5) Final Fantasy VI
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