Coming from a fiction writer context,


LWFlouisa

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What changes will I need to prepare for when switching to writing narratives for games, instead of novels? I used to write fiction that could more easily adapt into a game, but these days I tend to write a bit more about abstract puzzle solving than pure action.

I write very near future, almost bleeding edge, science fiction.

I definitely suspect I need branching narratives, particularly for visual novels. But now she if there is as high a demand for such detailed plot lines, characters, and back story in Real Time Strategy (team based) games.

But I've seen it done in turn based strategy.

Edit: For extra background, I'm thinking I'm going to study a bunch of visual novels, real time strategy, and turn based strategy games.

Flow wise, the narration would be closer to a visual novel. While standard battles (known as duels) will be turn through a turn based grid (like FF Tactics), and larger battles would flow similarly to Starcraft or Warcraft.

I'm not sure if it can be done though, so nothing is set in stone. And I'm thinking less a series these, and more having a constantly expanded world, with open participation on Github.
 
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levi

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It depends to an extent what sort of game you're writing for. Sure, for visual novels or to a certain extent RPGs you'll need branching narratives (although a lot of RPGS just have the main series with a few side quests which switch on and off and don't affect the main flow at all). But for lots of other games storytelling just boils down to a few scrolling screens of text between levels, and is always the same.
 

FBnil

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In novels, you can describe more, for example: "He nodded his head in approval while giving his hallmark smirk". In a visual novel, you could have a 2 image animation of a nod, while adding something the character would say, for example, "you are right".

So you need to decide if you are going to make the job easier for the programmer/artist by hinting the second, or keep the novel narrative and let them come up with how they want to translate that to the computer.

The hinting can be done with small elements:

[kitchen]
Mr. Westerschneider nodded his head in approval while giving his hallmark smirk".
*smirky nod*
or totally, more like a playbook:

location: kitchen, daytime
people present: Mr. Westerschneider and Mrs. Dot
actionable objects in room: coffeepot
Action: Mr. Westerschneider looks at Mrs. Dot while giving a smirky nod
Text: none
I'd stick to the former, thus letting the programmers translate the story into locations, personages, and situations. Because that gives freedom of narrating a part, like the intro of starwars, or make heavy use of images, animation, sound, and what not. But always make sure to also write how the people are dressed "impeccably dressed in a yellow turtle sweater with shiny black combat boots with very long laces". This makes the translation of the character to images much easier.

Example of a character, with concept art and overall description of the character http://grandia.wikia.com/wiki/Justin



In novels you can make heavy use of the third person/narrator. In visual novels, you have much more 1st person talk, or some intercalation of third person narration with lots of images that support the text.... and lots and lots of sound effects.

To set the mood in a novel, you need literal fluency and eloquence, i.e. "It was autumn and the leaves slowly fell down the tree because the cold wind played with them". While a visual Novel leans much more on background, animations, background music, sound effects, visual effects... things you can not easily put in a book (well, you have some pop-out books, and a frog book where you use your fingers as eyes).

But if you use too many settings, that makes the translation-to-computer harder, as you need more resources (like backgrounds).

TL;DR:



The image supports the style of saying things. "angry", "light hearted", "surprised", etc.

In this case, you see concern and not some psychopath that defines the actions in the text as "fun".

One of the great games that has walls and walls of geneology story is neverhood (link). You can sit down for 3 whole hours reading who begat who and what not.



So in one sense, you lose a bit of text size (because your descriptive narrative "Puzzled he pointed at himself then at her" is translated to images and only the core text remains "Me Tarzan, you... you...uh... Djane?").

But because of variables there can be small gems like:

text = "I am a little busy at the moment"
if $asked > 5 then text="Stop annoying me and GET LOST!" and picture = angry
 
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LWFlouisa

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Yes, it seems that RPGs at least the author needs to write more of a screenplay than a novel. Major plot points, character emotions and reams and reams of dialogue.
Luckily I do have a screenplay finished in first draft, that later became the short story I submitted to Tevun Cruz on Wattpad.

I might dig it up and see what I can work with.
 
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