Friday, February 8, 2008

I'm finishing up the game script that I mentioned a few days ago. It's an interesting project because, even though I'm officially the game's "designer," it's totally a matter of game-design by committee. Everyone in my group has a different idea of what we should be doing, and, in trying to appease everyone, the "group" somehow decided that the game should be absolutely generic.

No, seriously.

Not exactly the sort of thing that interests me, but it's actually kind of fun to work under this
type of constraint. I'm not allowed to make the main character a character at all, which creates a different style of storytelling and dialogue than I'm used to. I'm trying to maintain a light, non-specific tone, like the sort of text you'd find in a Pokemon game. The Legend of Zelda series has also been a huge influence. My ComedySportz training is definitely coming in handy here, too. Shades of Cwazy Quest and countless pun games.

Here are a few quotes from our Game Design Document:

"High Concept: A top-down, text-based, puzzle-adventure game about fixing your mistakes throughout a theme park to save your job. "

"You play a loosely-defined amusement park employee at risk of losing his job if he is unable to restore the park's haunted house in a night. "

Would you like to know the name of the game? Would you really?

Are you sure?

You definitely want to know the name of our generic, theme park-based puzzle game?

Fine. Here it is:

Puzzle Park

We came up with all the puzzles and gameplay before deciding any specifics regarding the story. This was my idea, which you might find surprising. I really had to fight to make the game this way, rather than story first. I'm going to talk about storytelling in games once I have enough time to really give the subject the attention it deserves. It's one of my biggest interests.

I have about an hour and a half to finish the script, so I'll leave you with a few examples of what I'm writing:

----Kiddie Park---------------------------------------------------------------|
|Ohhhhh! You did it! Come to me, Mr. Bun-Bun! Snuggle, snuggle, snuggle!
| Press SPACE to continue...

----Haunted House-------------------------------------------------------------|
No! Not the ANIMATRONIC! What did they do to you, old buddy?

Press SPACE to continue...

----Kiddie Park---------------------------------------------------------------|

Right on, chicky baby! You got the TRACK!
Press SPACE to continue...

----Cartoon Land--------------------------------------------------------------|
Woo. That was some mighty fine electrician-ing. Thanks, a bunch. I owe ya,
pal. If there's anything I can do ya for, just say it.
Press SPACE to continue...

----Pirate World--------------------------------------------------------------|
Captaining a boat's no easy task when you're missing an eye. And a leg. And a
hand. The life of an amusement parrrrrrrk shop owner ain't an easy one, but
it's the life fer me! Press SPACE to continue...

Award winning material!


Anonymous said...

Tis is what I'm paying $30 grand a year for??

Jake said...

Don't forget about the interest on all of your loans.

Anonymous said... loans???
What happened to my super wealthy son paying off all the loans and supporting ME in my old age?

Jake said...

Hey, listen, I got your money, it's just gonna take me a few more days. Ow! Ow! Ow!

I'm telling you, I have it. I just don't have it right here, but maybe we can make sort of a deal.

Well, how about a new deal?

No! Please, no! Here, you like my watch? Why don't you take my watch, and then when I get the money I'll give it to you right away. Ya gotta believe me, this ain't my fault. Just gimme a few more days, okay? Are we solid?

Oh, please, not in the face!

Anonymous said...


C. Semp said...

Have you heard of the book, "Character Development and Storytelling for Games"? It's really good.

Jake said...

"The Game Producer's Handbook," another book in that series, was required reading for a class I took last semester, but I haven't read this one yet. I'll add it to the "to read" list.

C. Semp said...

Yeah, I haven't read much of it, but it came highly recommended by this acquaintance of mine who does professional game work (though, as a caveat, he's not a writer, but a programmer). The little bit I've read of it- it seemed very well put together, and I'm hoping to pick up a copy for myself soon.