VIDEO GAME WRITING COURSE
5TH MARCH -
11TH APRIL 2024
TUESDAYS & THURSDAYS
Ever wondered how a video game evolves? Keen to know how to define a narrative, create compelling characters and write engaging dialogue? Equip yourself with the tools you need to take your video game writing from ideation to launch, and beyond.
Join Lorne Nudel, Senior Scriptwriter at Ubisoft, for this 360 degree approach to understanding the game development life cycle and the key roles and influences that video game writers can have.
WHO THIS COURSE IS FOR
YOU WANT TO TURN YOUR PASSION INTO A POTENTIAL CAREER PATH
Want to turn your passion into something more tangible? Keen to improve your industry knowledge and understand where a writer fits within the game development process? Don’t let a lack of writing experience put you off - we’ll get you prepared for interviews and send you off with a portfolio piece to help you stand out further.
YOU WANT TO SPECIFY YOUR WRITING SKILLS TO THE VIDEO GAME INDUSTRY
Are you a professional writer with ideas aplenty? We want you. If you’ve got the writing skills ready to go, we’ll boost your ascent by providing you with game specific tips and broadening your understanding of writing within the video game development process.
YOU WANT TO PIVOT WITHIN THE GAME INDUSTRY TO A MORE WRITING BASED ROLE
Have you worked as a game producer, designer or system creator? You’re likely to have a good understanding of the game development process - but we’ll offer invaluable insight into the writer’s room. Through live online classes, workshops and portfolio projects, we’ll enable you to transfer your knowledge and skill set to focus on ideation and writing specific challenges.
Ready to pivot your passion and start building a career in the video game writing world? Deep dive into an exploration of the tools you need to enter the industry, the game development life-cycle and where writers fit within this exciting space.
Our live online course has been designed to offer those with a passion for video games, writing experience or previous experience within the industry the opportunity to learn from an industry expert. You’ll reap the benefits of 12 online lessons, workshops and guest speakers- plus you’ll leave the course with a portfolio piece to show to future employees.
Each class will feature a workshop element with discussions, break out groups and an opportunity for idea development. Concepts and findings will be presented back to the class providing an excellent chance to improve pitching and speaking skills.
- Senior Scriptwriter at Ubisoft
- Over 20 years of diverse experience, working with big name companies such as Ubisoft, Disney and Funcom
- Has worked with industry leading software such as Unreal, numerous professional writing software's, as well as proprietary tools designed specifically for game writing.
- Has worked on games such as Skull & Bones, Watchdogs & Far Cry - as well as multiple Disney tie-in games
Meet Your Instructor & Course Overview
- Instructor introduction
- Course objectives & flow
- Overview of the role of story in video games and how they are told
- The different game production team roles and responsibilities
- The creative process
- Important qualities to cultivate as a game writer
Workshop: Class discussion of games that you remember being deeply immersive and memorable.
Develop further understanding of the structure and function of a game’s development strategy, and the importance of writing at each phase. Grasp common processes and tools needed to develop an idea into a product.
- The structure of the Game Development Production Cycle
- Development Methodologies including Agile and Waterfall development
- Working with dependencies
Workshop 1: Break out groups to come up with a story with a beginning, middle and end with a hero achieving their goal
Workshop 2: Break out groups to repeat the previous exercise with several strict predetermined limitations
Gain insight into the writing process, tools and workflow required as well as grasping practical methods needed for approaching various writing tasks.
- What to do with bad ideas (if they exist)
- Why reading is required
- The principles of narrative structure
- The Writer’s Room
- Writing Tools such as brainstorming, blocking and presenting
Workshop: Break out groups to develop two quick ideas for a game- one you feel is good and another you think is bad. Present each to the class for feedback
Learn the mechanics of building a story that will cohere with the emerging concept of a game. Look at the constituents of a story and the specific demands that games make of writers.
- Character, Setting, Plot
- The Premise: from ‘What If…?” to a premise
- The Role of Research
- Placing Player Agency at the centre
- Non-Linear Narratives
- Missions and Quest Arcs including time-sensitivity and stopping points
Workshop: Break out groups to develop an example of a premise for a game story- to be used in consequent workshops.
Assignment #2: Students will be asked to write a brief outline of a premise for the game story that will become the final project of the course.
Learn the essential building blocks required to construct a game world in consideration of the constraints and implications they have for an interactive world.
- Theme, Genre, and Tone
- Game Genre and Story Genre
- Ethical Considerations
- Licensed or existing I.P.s vs Original I.P.s
Workshop: Work together to further develop the game world that surrounds and informs the premise you came up with. Explain all creative choices to the class.
Assignment #3: Repeat the exercise, this time using your personal game idea, further developing the world and theme.
Look at the many devices available to help to shape players’ experience of stories. Learn their benefits and weaknesses, and consider how they can be used to work together.
- Environmental Storytelling
- Narrative Devices including cinematics, readables, player voice and narrator's/inner voice
Workshop: The class is shown a picture of an object. The task is to name the object, describe its purpose, and come up with a back-story for it that all fits within the lore of your particular game world.
Assignment #4: Create an object that serves some purpose in your game world whether it is the ultimate goal of the game to possess it or it is merely a small detail that helps to inform the player of the story. Write up the details that make the object important to the story.
Focus on the development of character at every level of game story. Look at the foundational concepts that inform their creation and the various roles they serve in driving the story forward.
- The Role of Characters in Story
- Creating Characters
Workshop: Write a description of a NPC, (not the hero) that inhabits your game world and serves a role in your hero’s journey.
Assignment #5: Begin to build out the backstory of your hero including physical description as well as the archetypes you will be inspired from.
Deep dive into the nuts and bolts of developing characters from the ground up. Learn how to create memorable characters that come to life and draw players into caring about the story.
- Writing backstory
- Building character arcs
- The Dilemma
- Note on supporting characters
Workshop: Take the NPC you developed in the previous class, and develop them into the hero appropriate to your game story.
Assignment #6: Continue to deepen your hero, connecting their inner conflict with the exterior goal.
As the project heads into its production phase, all the background and planning begins to express itself. Learn how characters tell their stories.
- Showing not Telling
- Outlining the work to be done via scene
- Action and Activity
- Economy and Clutter
Workshop: Define the work to be done in a scene between your hero and another character and how it will be conveyed, both through dialogue and otherwise.
Assignment #7: Decide on and outline the scene you will write for your final project. Determine the work that will be done in it including any supporting elements not specifically conveyed through dialogue.
Create character dialogue structures that allow players to choose their own path through in game conversations with NPCs. Gain a deeper understanding of the process of building an interaction that allows the player to participate more fully in role-play.
- Crafting compelling dialogue
- Text vs Subtext
- Branching Dialogue
Workshop: Write a short branching dialogue exchange between your player characters and an NPC.
Assignment #8: Write the scene you planned in the previous assignment for use as portfolio material in your applications for writing jobs.
Grasp the final aspects of realising your characters and storywork. Understand their role at each stage and gain the skills needed to execute on the requirements for actors, recording engineers and directors.
- Cinematics and in-game dialogues
- Locking scripts
Workshop: Write the scene from the previous class in a branching dialogue structure.
Assignment #9: Revisit the character biography developed earlier in the course, and using the information gained in the classes since, rewrite it to better marry it to the story you are trying to tell. This final document will serve as portfolio material for use in applications for writing jobs.
Cover the finishing touches that prepare a game for public launch. Review the continuing narrative needs of games that continue to evolve over months and years.
- Scene Polish
- Text Passes and Localization
- Preparing for Post-Launch
- Interview tips
- The coming role of AI