Are your writers pigs or chickens?

Stop me if you’ve heard this before. 

A pig and a chicken are walking down a road. The Chicken looks at the pig and says “Hey, why don’t we open a restaurant?” The pig looks back at the chicken and says “Good idea, what do you want to call it?” The chicken thinks about it and says “Why don’t we call it ‘Ham and Eggs’?” “I don’t think so” says the pig, “I’d be committed but you’d only be involved.”

This story forms the basis of Scrum development, but it could easily be applied to any management style in game development.  While programmers always fall into the pig category, other branches of game development generally fall into the chicken category.  If the program doesn’t work, everyone else’s efforts go to waste.  Writers, however, have the opportunity to be either a pig or a chicken, depending on the project.

The chicken writer
The game writer who is involved in a game’s outcome often comes late to the scene.  A developer brings the writer on to polish the dialog of a story already written by a pig.  The writer may also add a few, subtle storylines as well, but at this point, the story-telling tools offered by art and design are off the table.  Chicken writers offer a great deal of value to games such as story-light FPS’s, fighting/sports games, and edutainment.  

The pig writer
The game writer who is committed to a game’s outcome arrives early in game development, sometimes even before programming has begun.  The game writer, aka narrative designer, works with the entire team to create a story and world that will motivate the player forward.  Without the necessary content from these writers, programmers would be working on a different game.  What is a role-playing game, after all, without a role to play?  Pig writers form an essential component of RPGs, story-driven FPS’s, and, often, MMOs.

Which do you want your writers to be?  Pigs or chickens?

“It’s like ham and eggs.  The chicken is involved.  The pig is committed.” – Martina Navrotilova

Question Mark Last week’s game dialog was spoken by a troll from CITY OF HEROES for PC.  More Guess that Game Dialog to come!

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Published in: on September 25, 2007 at 11:08 am  Leave a Comment  

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