Written Well AND Delivered Well

As a colleague pointed out to me at a recent IGDA meeting, game dialog can be written well but not delivered well.  Even if the dialog is out-of-this-world, poor voice-acting, engine limitations, or mismatched animation can hamper the performance.  Many game developers do send the writer to the voiceover session, but how many think it’s important for the writer to interact with the programmers and artists?

Nowadays, game development is a collaborative process.  Large games need teams of specialized workers. As we discussed in our SXSW Interactive session, story design shouldn’t be separated from the other disciplines.  Story can go beyond ‘just the words.’  Instead, a dedicated narrative designer working with programmers, artists, and sound designers will know how to convey story in an interactive experience.  To do this well, a narrative designer should be considered part of a multidisciplinary team.

For more on this topic, please read the article on Gamasutra“Towards More Meaningful Games: A Multidisciplinary Approach.”

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Published in: on July 22, 2008 at 6:21 am  Comments (5)  

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  1. In addition to being written well and delivered well, one thing that irks me in games is when the background music doesn’t match the context of the dialogue. I recently played Dreamfall: The Longest Journey 2, which looped music and it became very distracting. It would change to this ominous sounding music all of a sudden during game conversation, which kept fooling me and my husband into thinking something was going to happen, until we realized it was looping!

  2. Hi Jess! In Sande’s article, she talks about how to use music to deliver the story as well. It’s on the last page, so you’re forgiven for not reading it yet 😉


  3. […] been seamlessly integrated into the entire design… or possibly the story was just poorly written and conceived.  We’re magnanimous people, of course, so let’s see what others have to […]

  4. […] What can I do?  While you can argue there’s no good substitute for a live performance, writers with a cinematic or film background can provide input on proper staging and character emotion by including it in the script itself.  […]

  5. […] blog, we discussed social games, game vernacular, Denis Dyack, Wizard 101, game pricing, auteurs, narrative design, and game genres on this episode of The Brainy Gamer […]

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