Collaborating in game writing: Putting it all together

You’ve got ownership, compromise, and consensus.  Now how do you use these tools with a team, from project to inception?  Here’s an example of how it could work.

Developing game story from scratch
The brainstorming session is ideal for following the consensus model.  At the beginning of a project, few concepts are so set in stone that there would be need for compromise.  Ownership under a head writer also works, as long as the team can be won over by either a) contributing to some integral issues through consensus or b) good salesmanship.

Major issues going forward
Even once the story has been decided, major issues will crop up, like how to approach a world or unique stories for major player types.  All three methods can get you to gold, depending on the number of people you have on your team and their ego needs.  For example, to approach a player story, you could use a consensus or compromise method to lay the basic groundwork, then assign ownership for each player type.  Conversely, you could give ownership on each player type.  Each writer would then be responsible for getting buy-in from other writers through consensus, compromise, or salesmanship.

Minor issues
By their very nature, minor issues, such as the proverbial color of a character’s dress, definitely can go under the guise of ownership.

The stretch to the finish
Ideally, as a project nears completion all issues will be minor ones, so the ownership method should lead the way.  However, if another major issue pops up, don’t ignore consensus, or compromise if pressed for time.  A return to these early methods may well keep relationships on track during the stressful time before ship.

Have you ever worked on a project without ownership?  Or used consensus at an odd stage of story development?  Let us know!  Next week — managing ego and expectations!

Question Mark Guess that game dialog! Today’s line: “Call it a quest – no, a request.” Check back next week for what game it came from.

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Published in: on October 26, 2007 at 4:55 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. [...] Last week’s game dialog came from Uru: Ages Beyond Myst. More Guess that Game Dialog to come! [...]

  2. [...] job. Surrendering the creative process is never easy but ultimately, the game profits from a more collaborative [...]


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