MARK FRANCOMBE Musician, Filmmaker, Game-designer & Kipple-monger

The Ultimate Guide to Video Game Writing and Design

Im reading this book, to help me in the writing of “Aunty”. Its not that I´m stuck, quite the reverse, but I was interested in finding out techniques for what form to write in, and how to keep track, or display all the threads of an interactive story. This book didnt really teach me what I needed. But they are very open about what kind of games they are talking about from the outset. They assume all games have weapons, are about killing stuff, and have levels and bosses… etc. Not only is that very narrow, but its also not true that all games are like this.
However, everything that they DO write about, is brilliant, and is almost a shame that its directed at Video Games only, as what they write could fit into almost ANY creative team. How to pitch an idea, solve problems, even how to back out of a project that you realise is a bummer… I also see some insights into the industry, and far from feeling that its something I could never do, I realise that I could do it rather well. There is a quite wonderful potted history of video games at the start, that made me sigh at the fond memories of Space Invader bar tables, and Donkey Kong. The exercises are interesting and well thought out, with even some twists, like where they say write a short sequence about a girl that can fly, then a few pages later the next exercise is to say, Oh… tech has reported they cant do flying, so RE-write without the flying…

I have ONE major gripe… and the authors should too. THE ERRORS! This book is SO FULL of typographical errors, spelling errors, and even a couple of printing errors, that I wouldn’t trust them to write a thank-you letter, let alone a computer game… Its not enough just to run the spell checker guys! Sometimes the incorrect spelling is IN the dictionary, meaning something else!!!

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