Tag Archives: Game Developer Conference

Paper Prototyping Memories

Ugh, it’s been almost a month and I feel like I haven’t done anything.  That’s not true (I’ve been doing a lot of reading, which has been great), but I haven’t done any writing or work on Memories.  So that ended up one of my big plans for this long weekend – make some sort of progress on Memories.  (I was tempted to sit down and write a short story or something, but decided in the end that I really need to finish this game first).

So I made a paper prototype of most of the game so far, and started trying to think things through a bit.

my paper prototype of Memories

This has been great.  I made little tokens out of paper with the characters, whether or not they have a heart, and what their job title is.  I also made paper tokens of the keys you’ll need, and the memory triggers.  This way I can move everything around super easily, which has allowed me to change my mind as to who will be in what room (and who will have the keys you need).  Thanks to this, I’ve actually managed to properly think through some of the problems I’ve been having for the last few weeks regarding the second and third memories, which means I can get back to building the game!  🙂

I wasn’t prototyping the narrative, but sitting down and making this prototype reminded me of a GDC talk I attended about paper prototyping for your narrative design project.  I know my friends and I were disappointed with the talk itself (he spent too much time on terms we were all familiar with; it was just starting to get into the good stuff when he ran out of time and had to hurry through the stuff we were more interested in), but if you’re interested in it, I found the talk on Youtube.

Oh yeah, I’m also renaming the wizard.  For some reason, I didn’t realize his name started with an “E” when I named him.  One of the families has an “E” as the first letter of their names, and I didn’t want it to be confusing.  So he’s now going to be Godric.  I think that’s appropriate – it means “power of god” plus “”power, rule.”  Definitely appropriate for this wizard!  😉

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Oh Yeah…Goals

Last year I made myself a list of goals, most of which were writing related.  Of the 11 goals I made for myself, I managed to accomplish exactly one off of the list.  And it wasn’t one of my writing ones.

That being said, I did some work on the other goals.  I played around with Chat Mapper a little bit.  I started world building one of those worlds that need building.  And while I didn’t clear out my writing magazine stash (one of my unlisted goals), I did clear out some other magazines.

I also accomplished some things which weren’t on my list.  I was involved with a game project among friends.  Sure, it ultimately didn’t go anywhere, but it was still a valuable experience.  I also worked on Holdfast, which resulted in a published credit.  And then I wrote that submission for the Dark Crystal Author Quest, which was quite a feat in and of itself (a couple months of research followed by three writing and editing it).  I think the lesson from all of this is that while goals are good, it also pays to be flexible; you never know what opportunities life will throw at you.

So with that in mind, here are my new writing goals for 2014:

  • Figure out Chat Mapper and write some branching dialogue with it.
  • Build 2+ of my worlds that need building.
  • Build a game (can be with RPG Maker, Game Maker, StoryNexus or whatever).
  • Edit my 2012 NaNoWriMo novel OR write a new novel using 90 Days to Your Novel 
  • Get to GDC Main this year.

Most of these goals are the same as my last year’s goals, but that’s okay; I’m thinking they’re still good goals to strive for.  For the fourth one, I’ve had 90 Days to Your Novel for quite awhile and wanted to give it a try.  I might even just rewrite the NaNoWriMo novel using that book’s techniques since I’m pretty certain the book needs an almost total rewrite anyway.

I have a couple of other goals for the year that aren’t really writing related so I’m not going to post them here.  That last goal isn’t completely writing related, but I do talk about conferences from time to time here, too.  I’ve been saying I’m going to GDC for the last few years and still haven’t made it; I’d really like to change that in 2014!

Hopefully 2014 will be a creative and productive year for us all – Happy New Year, everyone!  🙂

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GDC Online 2011

Back in July, I attended the IGDA Summit in Seattle. While there, I met many great people and had an excellent time. But one piece of advice that I got really stuck with me: if you want to be a video game writer, go to GDC Online. So I did! It’s now been a week and a half since I returned home after the conference. And with life returning to normal, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my fantastic experience in Austin.

I went to GDC Online specifically for the Narrative Summit and the Game Writing Tutorial. While my pass let me attend the other Summits and Tutorials, I only attended sessions from these two. I really enjoyed the various talks; there were lots of excellent speakers during all three days. My favourite sessions from the Narrative Summit were Cory Herndon’s “Tweet Quest,” the panel on Co-Operative Campaigns, and Richard Dansky’s “Muppetational Game Writing Critique Workshop.” The entire Game Writing Tutorial was also extremely valuable, especially if you are, like me, relatively new in the industry.

While the conference itself was a great experience for learning the craft, the after hours events were great for getting to know everyone. I was lucky that I met a lot of people in Seattle, so Austin was a great place to catch up with them. But there were also many people that I met for the first time at GDC Online. They were all extremely welcoming, willing to share their experiences or just chat. And the best place to find them all was after hours at the Gingerman. Here the writers gathered for Write Club, Family Business, socializing and merriment. The Gingerman after hours gatherings were just as valuable as the Conference proper. And always a lot of fun!

From start to finish, GDC Online was a great conference. I learned a lot and had a great time hanging out with everyone. My advice to anyone who wants to be a video game writer: definitely look into attending the next GDC Online – and make sure you stop by the Gingerman!

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