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Bar-sur-Loup Provence France

Game Writing

So the idea, then, is to make money writing.

Writing anything. Clarion West taught me that speculative fiction is written for love, not money. Sure, there are a handful that can survive on the proceeds, but you don't want to bet the mortgage and the kids' college education on that.

So, writing. Technical writing, travel writing, business writing, food writing ... and game writing. It exists, and is a genre unto itself. Part screenplay, part technical manual, part soap op-- sorry, daytime drama. Just think, I could pen the next "All your base are belong to us."

Or not, if at all possible.

There is a list to follow some day; a list of video games that have done the most to blow my mind. Included among the more modern ones (post-1990) would be the original Doom from Id (no story, but unbelievably immersive), the first Thief game from Looking Glass Studios -- R.I.P. -- (a world-rocker), the Baldur's Gate series and their big brother Neverwinter Nights from BioWare (scope, story, UI, ... all amazing), Arx Fatalis from Arkane Studios (level size, puzzles, and non-linearity at their finest), Half-Life from Valve (have I mentioned Marc Laidlaw?) ... and so it goes.

The problem for a fiction writer is that writing games is like writing a story, but without the story part.

I joke. It's actually like writing a story, but without exposition, setting, internal dialogue, description -- it's writing a story when you can't say a thing about what's going on with the protagonist, because the protagonist is the player. They have to know what's going on anyway, and you yank their chair-shaped butts right through the fourth wall if you dare to actually stop and tell them. Everything happens through what the player sees, what the player chooses to do, and what dialogue the player hears and selects. Those are the only colors left out of the fiction writer's entire palette for creating the story--visual setting, action, and dialogue. Three damn fine ones, admittedly, but they make it a real exercise to develop an entire picture without using all the others that a ficiton writer usually relies on.

Nothing like a good challenge to get the pistons firing on Monday morning.


Hey Jeff! *waves*

(more later)
Bar-sur-Loup Provence France

December 2011

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